As we have already analyzed in previous articles, the majority of industries such as the maritime and construction sectors, are at an elevated risk from cyber-attacks . The pharmaceutical industry is one of the most important industries as it contributes significantly to the economy and health. So, it is a high priority for every organization and employees to find ways to protect themselves against cyber attacks. In this article, we will analyze why pharmaceutical companies suffer from cyber-attacks and how crucial it is to invest in cybersecurity.
Threats and cyber-attacks in pharmaceutical industry
Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies have always been at risk of cyber-attacks as many cybercriminals aimed to steal their sensitive and confidential data such as drug prescriptions, research for treatments and patient’s information. Especially after Covid –19 pandemic, pharmaceutical companies became the target of cybercriminals.
Automation, third party vendors and new technological tools now dominate the pharma industry. Third-party vendors are really useful as they are especially needed in R&D. However, if a third-party vendor is breached, it can lead to great damage for all its partners.
Introduction of IoT (Internet of Things) in pharma industry, makes it vulnerable to cyber-attacks too. The pharmaceutical industry uses extensively IoT, in order to simplify and analyze important patient data while complex procedures are now becoming more efficient. Although IoT devices are tightly connected with pharma industry, they increases cyber-attack’s surface due to the high number of vulnerabilities.
In addition, in recent years a lot of companies have merged or been acquired by a larger corporation and this has a negative impact on cybersecurity. It happens because usually the subsidiary companies have not invested in their security and thus the parent companies which are well protected are also affected. So, before taking the necessary acquisition actions, companies should take care of their security by aiming for a proactive approach.
The pharmaceutical industry is at risk from a lot of types of cyber-attacks. Analyzing the impact on the pharma industry, as it happens in most industries, the risk of Ransomware attacks is huge. As it was already analyzed in previous articles, these attacks aim to extract a ransom from their victims using malicious software to restore the damage caused. Additionally, phishing attacks also threaten the pharmaceutical industry. Phishing attacks are usually carried out with malicious emails, which include a link to trap the victims to click it. Thus, intruders steal the sensitive data of pharmaceutical companies in order to cause them considerable damage.
Incidents of cyber-attacks in pharmaceutical industry
Regarding the UK’s National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), there were more than 200 attacks due to the pandemic. On average, cyber-attacks on the pharmaceutical industry costs raised around 5 million dollars in 2020. Some of the most important attacks in recent years in pharmaceutical industry are the cyber-attacks on AstraZeneca and Pfizer in 2020. Also, the data breach of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories was serious too . These attacks resulted in the processing and alteration of the data of these companies with the aim of undermining them. Attempts at cyber-attack were as numerous as the attacks, some of which took place at the pharmaceutical company Jonson and Jonson and Novovax in 2020 too.
In conclusion, every industry needs strong cybersecurity to protect its data and vital information from malicious hackers. Pharmaceutical companies especially should take the appropriate solutions because they are valuable to cybercriminals. They have a plethora of confidential data which if breached can cause grave consequences .These could be harmful for the economy, health and society in general.
In Logstail we are offering the full range of services required to effectively mitigate cyber-attacks in the pharmaceutical industry. Incident response and consulting, penetration testing, and red team operations, are altogether aiming to help our customers mitigate their cyber incidents.
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