Boardroom briefing: Solomon Islands Facebook ban, vaccine hopes might spook some investors, and ransomware attacks on the rise


The Solomon Islands unfriends Facebook, not every investor happy about the positive covid-19 vaccine news and the cost of ransomware attacks. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

Unfriended: no more Facebook for the Solomons

The ban will have a negative effect on tourism promotion authorities. Credit: Facebook

The Solomon Islands this week joined a very exclusive club: the four countries that have put an outright ban on Facebook. The Solomon Times reports that Cabinet has agreed to an outright, but temporary, ban on the world’s largest social networking site.

Minister Agovaka told Solomon Times that this temporary ban was made because of the controversial issues raised via Facebook.

‘Abusive languages against Ministers, Prime Minister, character assassination, defamation of character, all these are issues of concerns,’ Agovaka says. ‘The use of the internet now in the Solomon Islands needs to be properly regulated to safeguard our young people from harmful content. At the moment there is no legislation to govern the use of the internet and even young kids can be able to download harmful stuff from the internet.’

But what was not mentioned is how many small businesses – and even government initiatives such as tourism body Visit Solomons – rely on Facebook for promotion, and how key social media is to many SME plans when they cannot afford to engage someone to set up their own website. How this ban will affect those operations is yet to play out.

Vaccine progress delivers bad news for some investors

The promise of the coronavirus vaccine is giving hope to millions around the world. Credit: pixaby

With Moderna the latest company to suggest it has a COVID-19 vaccine with over 90 per cent efficacy, The Sydney Morning Herald points out that a successful treatment for the pandemic may be bad news for some investors.

‘For existing bond investors, the prospect of a faster than anticipated pick-up in economic growth if the vaccine is successful and widely distributed and accepted is not the good news that it is for equity investors, or for yield-hungry bank depositors,’ the article points out. ‘There is an inverse relationship between bond prices and bond yields. If interest rates rise the value of existing bonds, with lower yields, falls and vice versa. What’s good news for economies and shares spells losses for bondholders. Conversely, as has been the case for most of this year, falling rates produce capital gains for existing bond investors.’

Story continues after advertisment...

It’s an interesting point, but one that probably won’t trouble the billions of people worldwide holding out for some good news about battling COVID-19, and the wider damage it has caused to business.

Ransomware attacks costing business

One of the biggest costs of moving much of our business online during the COVID-19 pandemic is that digital security is a much bigger issue for businesses large and small.

There has been a huge rise in ransomware attacks in Australia according to Smart Company, malicious software that threatens to publish or block a business’s online data unless a ransom is paid.

‘In some cases, organisations are choosing to pay the ransom. Industry estimates put the number of organisations as high as 29 per cent, but for SMEs, this figure may even be as high as 70 per cent, which makes sense given they would be more likely to look at it in purely financial terms,’ writes cyber security expert Nick Ellsmore.

It also looks at the legality around paying the ransom and if it will solve the problem long term.

‘The problem of ransomware isn’t likely to go away anytime soon, so I can’t overstate the importance of avoiding that kind of business decision,’ the author says. ‘Embrace the boring stuff. Good security hygiene, such as patching and regular backups, and frequent threat hunting can help avert the dilemma in the first place.’

Leave a Reply