The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) is fighting against disinformation on the novel coronavirus by working to ensure disinformation, scams and rumors related to the pandemic do not negatively impact businesses and citizens across the state.
The efforts are in coordination with the “COVID-19 Rumor Control and Disinformation Updates” webpage launched in mid-March.
An Online Education Source
NJOHSP launched the website in partnership with the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (OEM), New Jersey Regional Operation Intelligence Center and New Jersey State Police. NJOHSP is working to provide the public with guidance regarding fraudulent and false information and activity connected to the pandemic.
Gov. Phil Murphy lauded the efforts of the agencies, noting the parallel dangers of both the virus and disinformation spreading.
“The only way to beat this pandemic is if each of our nine million residents continues to follow social distancing measures, guidance from public health officials, and by supporting each other,” stated Murphy. “We must remain on course, and our administration is determined to keep everyone safe with reliable information.”
Protecting Against Foreign Actors
NJOHSP warned foreign nations were attempting to leverage the pandemic to sow anti-U.S. sentiment. Additionally, they were using the situation to undermine the credibility of the country.
The agency alleged China and Russia were developing disinformation campaigns via multiple mediums, designed to alter the views of individuals and distort facts. Additionally, domestic individuals and groups were deploying scams, utilizing false information.
“The sharing of disinformation is one of many tactics gaining traction by those seeking to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic, both across the United States and around the world,” said Jared M. Maples, NJOHSP Director.
The New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell, a division NJOHSP, reported an increase in cyberattacks on healthcare institutions and various companies throughout the state that support work-from-home solutions.