“We’ve never had a topic that’s had such uniqueness as a global hook as we have with COVID,” says Matthew Devost, a cybersecurity expert with decades of experience working with the Defense Department, now CEO of OODA LLC.

And it has had an unprecedented effect – Devost specializes in what security professionals call “red teaming,” an exercise in which experts working with an organization like the Defense Department act as real-life adversaries in an attempt to identify potential security weaknesses.

The current threat is so severe that professionals in Devost’s line of work have for the first time decided to consider some tactics off limits – in this case, any reference to COVID-19 in their dummy spear-phishing campaigns – so as not to overwhelm those in government and elsewhere currently tasked with defending against real threats that are advancing at unprecedented levels.”