November 6, 2020 - Podcast

Episode 55— Cybersecurity, and a possible twindemic

The U.S. election has come and gone, but concerns over security remain. Fred Cate, vice president for research at Indiana University and founding director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, says one of the biggest concerns now is the fact that, due to the pandemic, many people are working from home and are more dependent on digital infrastructure than ever. All those things that we may not have paid that much attention to, such as whether or not our computer is secure or whether our router and the way we connect to the internet is secure, are now important, he says. Instead of just big institutional security, we’re focused on individual security and the way that relates to a larger system. And, although some people say ransomware is declining, Cate says it’s still a big issue, impacting healthcare institutions, hospitals, city governments and businesses. So, what can the average person do when it comes to cybersecurity? Cate says there are two things we all can do. First, recognize that good cybersecurity is a partnership and we all play a role. Be aware of your individual responsibilities, he says, in the fight to keep our data and systems secure. Second, expect more from government and industry. Cate says we should be pressing our political leaders and agitating more on social media. Hopefully, there will be a day in the future, Cate says, when when you don't have to spend time thinking about cybersecurity, instead it will a benefit that's provided when you buy or subscribe to or rent a system.

In other news, flu season always has the potential to wreak havoc on people’s lives. But with the COVID-19 pandemic still going strong, some public health officials say the combination of flu and coronavirus illness could lead to a “twindemic” of both diseases that will stress hospitals and health providers. Public health officials in Indiana are urging Hoosiers to get their flu shots while, already, some hospitals are reporting that they are filled up or nearing capacity due to cases of COVID-19. Thomas Duszynski, a former epidemiologist for the state health department and now director of epidemiology education at the Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI says people can be infected with influenza and COVID-19, which would just be disastrous, because they’re both respiratory diseases. A person’s outcome, he says, would be very poor if that were to occur. Flu season typically runs from October through spring, with a spike in cases in the winter months of December, January and February. The CDC recommends that everyone 5 months and older should get a flu vaccine every season with rare exceptions.