Exploiting Chaos: How Malicious Non-State Actors Are Using COVID-19 to Their Advantage in


Exploiting Chaos: How Malicious Non-State Actors Are Using COVID-19 to Their Advantage in

3 Mar 2023

TSAS Research Brief Overview Since the beginning of 2020, while societies and economies around the world have struggled to cope with the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, cyberspace has given governments, businesses, and general end-users the ability to work, play, and connect in new and innovative ways. [...] However, at the same time, while the world has been focused on the health, economic, political, and social ramifications of the pandemic, terrorist organizations, fringe groups, and extremist communities around the world have become emboldened, finding opportunity to exploit the situation, incite hate, (re)mobilize, and promote their ideologies online in novel ways. [...] In terms of Canada’s national security— and in light of the government’s prioritization of curbing the spread of the disease and launching large-scale inoculation campaigns across the country—terrorist organizations, right- and left-wing extremist movements, and criminal syndicates will not only continue pursuing the online strategies we have focused on, but will also likely continue developing, i. [...] Regardless of the situation, malicious groups will find ways to pivot, adapt, and exploit people’s insecurities, the unknown, human suffering, and other epistemic, existential, and social factors that contribute to individuals’ susceptibility to destructive and inaccurate information. [...] Ultimately, Canada’s security and intelligence community should pay particular attention to online activities engineered to undermine the Government of Canada, to recruit new members to terrorist organizations and extremist groups, and to incite or motivate acts of violence.



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