The spread of the current measles virus is akin to the spread of a malware virus in a cyber attack

  • New York declares measles emergency (New York Times)

  • 6 more Hong Kong residents infected with measles, government says (SCMP)

The above two headlines appeared at different end of the world - one in New York dated 9 April 2019 and another in Hong Kong - dated 26 March 2019. This ongoing measles outbreak on both sides of the world is causing health authorities across the world great anxiety. Thanks to an effective vaccine, measles was supposedly eradicated in most countries back at the turn of this century. According to a new UNICEF study, global measles cases increased by nearly half from 2017 to 2018.

Why are we bringing this up when this column is about cybersecurity?

Because the intensity of this outbreak and its ability to spread infectiously across the world, seemingly crossing borders at will, undetected and infecting everyone that it comes across, is eerily similar to the characteristics and path of destruction that a malware/virus can do to computer networks across the world.

The measles virus are akin to the malware and other malicious viruses created by the hackers. People are the computers and all other internet linked devices. To minimise risks of being infected with the measles virus, all human at infant stage are encouraged to be vaccinated. Similarly computer networks and all other internet linked devices are installed with anti virus software. In a computer network. even after you have installed anti virus software and firewalls etc, it does not means you would not be attacked in a cyber attack. Similarly, no vaccine is 100% effective, and it is therefore always possible to get a disease even though you are vaccinated against it. But if you have been vaccinated, there is only a small chance of you g