Why Cyber Security is a top priority in the Pharma industry

Strategic Relevance

While the industry has been slow in adopting robust cybersecurity practices, recent high-profile cyberattacks have prompted a wake-up call. Digital transformation and increasing reliance on third-party suppliers and internet-connected devices have expanded the attack surface and heightened the need for cybersecurity measures. The potential consequences of a cybersecurity incident in the pharmaceutical industry are severe, including stolen intellectual property, compromised clinical trial data, reputational damage, and financial losses.

Challenges & Opportunities

  • Digital Transformation: The industry’s digital transformation has increased the collection and management of data online, making it a prime target for cyberattacks.
  • Third-Party Suppliers: Relying on third-party vendors and outsourcing exposes pharmaceutical firms to a higher risk of cyber attacks and data breaches.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): The use of internet-connected devices in the pharmaceutical sector expands the attack surface, providing more potential access points for attackers.

Future Trends

  • Targeted Attacks: Clinical research firms and pharmaceutical companies are increasingly targeted by advanced persistent threat (APT) groups, including Strontium, Zinc (Lazarus), and Cerium.
  • Global Impact: These attacks are not limited to specific regions, posing a global challenge for pharmaceutical companies.
  • Growing Threat: Organized hacking groups are increasingly targeting pharmaceutical companies, necessitating stronger cybersecurity measures.
  • Attack Techniques: APT groups employ tactics like spear phishing, brute force password attacks, and password spraying to steal login credentials.

Best Practices & Key takeaways

  • To mitigate the risks, pharmaceutical companies should prioritize implementing robust cybersecurity measures such as employee training, multi-factor authentication, regular security audits, and incident response plans.
  • Collaborating with industry peers, sharing best practices, and staying informed about the latest cybersecurity threats and technologies will also contribute to a stronger cybersecurity posture.
  • By addressing the challenges, leveraging opportunities, and implementing best practices, the pharmaceutical industry can strengthen its cybersecurity defenses and protect valuable data, intellectual property, and reputation from cyber threats.
Bijender Mishra
Global Chief Information Security Officer
Alkem Laboratories Limited

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this feature article are of the author. This is not meant to be an advisory to purchase or invest in products, services or solutions of a particular type or, those promoted and sold by a particular company, their legal subsidiary in India or their channel partners. No warranty or any other liability is either expressed or implied.
Reproduction or Copying in part or whole is not permitted unless approved by author.


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