In all of my years in information technology and information security, I was trained to reduce the risks of a computer virus. Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would have to deal with risks related to a different type of virus – a biological one. While it may not be apparent at a first glance, computer viruses and biological viruses share many the same traits:
- Biological viruses get their instructions from DNA or RNA, while computer viruses get theirs from computer programming.
- Typically, biological viruses cannot live for too long outside of their hosts, while computer viruses are activated when the host program is executed.
- Biological viruses replicate themselves by taking over the hosts internal “machinery” with its own DNA/RNA, while a computer virus is able to replicate itself when the host program is executed.
- Copies of the biological virus infect other host cells while copies of computer viruses attach to/infect other host programs.
Many biological viruses, such as COVID-19, take a significant human toll from a physical and emotional standpoint. As we are seeing today, COVID-19 is also affecting our financial markets. It’s clear, based on all that has been reported, that this virus will involve a lot of hard work and sacrifice to recover from. At the same time, and on a different scale, a computer virus affects humans through the loss of productivity, and the potential loss of revenue that can occur in the event of a ransomware attack. Finally, depending on the severity of the computer virus, it too can take significant time to recover from.
As a security professional, COVID-19 has taught me not to take my job too seriously. Yes, information security is one of the most important functions for businesses to keep our information safe, but to the best of my knowledge, no one has been hospitalized or lost their life due to being in direct contact with a computer virus. COVID-19 has reminded me of what’s really important in life: family, friends, clients, and our health. I’m amazed and proud to see how businesses and colleagues have come together to support each other and those affected either directly or indirectly by COVID-19. There is no doubt that we will get through this and be much better for it on the other side.
Remember to wash your hands frequently, maintain a good social distance and take care of each other during these difficult times.