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.
- 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.