Jun 08, 2023

Role of Cyber Security in the Life Science Industry

cyber security in the Life Science Industry

Life Science and Healthcare organizations are particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The sector has a significant number of Intellectual Property that can aid in preventing and treating diseases and disorders. The intellectual property (IP) that Life Science and Healthcare companies own is precious due to the significant R&D investments made to develop new cutting-edge treatments and drugs. Cybercriminals will want to sell this intelligence to those who can use and profit from it economically with no cyber security in Life Sciences.


In addition to IP theft, hacktivist cyber-attacks are prevalent. Individuals or groups who disagree with the clinical research and trial approach or dispute the ethics and validity of testing methods or medical outcomes will attempt to disrupt the organization by destroying vital data or targeting the company’s IT infrastructure.


Foreign state-sponsored assaults also try to attack and cripple infrastructure and networks and steal valuable medical research and production methodology to benefit their development. Keep reading the blog post to learn the role of Cyber Security in Life Science.


Facts and Figures Related to Cyber Security in Life Science


  • 95% of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error
  • Ransomware assaults grew by 150 percent in 2020, after doubling between 2018 and 2019, with a particular emphasis on life sciences and healthcare organizations.
  • According to IBM Cyber Security Intelligence Index Report, the average focused phishing effort had a click rate of 17.8 percent. In contrast, targeted phishing campaigns that included phone calls (vishing or voice phishing) were three times more effective, resulting in a click from 53.2 percent of victims.


Cyber Security Risks in Life Science Parallel to Pandemic


Cybercriminals target organizations in the life sciences sector to obtain sensitive personal data and intellectual property on new pharmaceuticals or diagnostic technologies.

COVID-19 has intensified cybercriminal activity in all industries. According to the most recent UK Government numbers, cyber security in Life Sciences is a top priority for senior management in eight of 10 UK enterprises. 1 It’s hardly surprising, given that nearly half have experienced a security breach or cybercrime in the last year. However, with only 11% of businesses considered to have cyber insurance coverage,2 million could be in danger.

A cyber-attack on life science operations severely impacts a company’s financial and reputational standing. Life sciences firms should assess each stage of the product life cycle holistically. Identifying vulnerabilities will enable businesses to develop a solid risk mitigation strategy.

Cyber Security Risks in LifeScience

Source: Microsoft


These security leaders’ thoughts mirror many of the best practices that Microsoft has been sharing with customers and working around the clock to help them apply. The final line is that the pandemic is certainly hastening cyber-digital security’s revolution.


Actions to Follow Within Cyber Security in Life Science To Reduce Threats


● Define your cyber-threats and analyze the implications

Investigate to determine the root cause of a cyber-threat. This might include everything from your network and anti-virus software to personnel training. Then contemplate the ramifications of a cyber-attack—for example, stakeholder liability, property and asset damage, reputational harm, and business interruption. In addition, cyber-loss scenarios are scored depending on their likelihood and impact.


● Determine the extent of cyber risk exposure

How much money would be required to monitor and reduce the risk of a data breach or system outage? Consider how to optimize existing risk transfer options best.


● Determine your cyber-security advantages and disadvantages

Examine what you’re doing well to reduce cyber-risks and where you can improve. Compare this to a renowned cyber security framework. Benchmarking maturity across the five NIST Cyber Security Framework domains, for example, can assist you in developing a balanced cyber mitigation and management approach. Our cyber-security calculator could also be a useful starting point.


● Review your cyber security initiatives regularly

The sooner you recognize that cyber-security is a continual effort that must be refreshed regularly, the better prepared you will be. Compliance, low-level risk management processes, and project, operational, and technical reviews should be renewed more often.


● Determine your risk tolerance

If you’re thinking about new collaborations, such as joint ventures or mergers and acquisitions, analyze the cyber risk carefully. To reduce accidental risk exposure, develop a cyber due diligence procedure alongside other areas of due diligence throughout a transaction.


● Improving Productivity and Threat Mitigation

Security and IT teams have been working around the clock to accomplish business objectives while also staying ahead of new risks and scams. The top challenge identified by security leaders is “providing safe remote access to resources, apps, and data.” For many businesses, the pandemic exposed the limitations of their previous trust model, which relied largely on company-managed equipment, physical access to buildings, and limited remote access to select line-of-business apps.


Top 5 Security Investments Since Beginning of Pandemic

Source: Microsoft


i). Cyber Threats Life Science Sector Must Not Overlook


Cyber Security in Life Science is at a crossroads, having to make those critical decisions as the business demands rapid scaling up right from its supply chains to R&D efforts to manufacturing to its downline distribution channels, becoming agile, thus posing constant hurdles and challenges of securing and ensuring smooth enabling of its business without interruptions. The time to market is a significant success factor.


ii). Gaps in the supply chain


Many Life Sciences organizations require a robust supply chain consisting of third-party vendors, such as raw material producers and other input item providers, to carry out daily operations and increase efficiencies. With technological developments, suppliers must focus on integrated supply chain management systems and Cyber Security in Life Science.


If any of your providers in your ecosystem experienced a data breach, your firm would be negatively impacted operationally and have to pay a high price. Having total protection and visibility throughout your connected networks is critical, allowing you to monitor your suppliers’ cybersecurity posture continuously.


Gaps In The Supply Chain

Source: Supplychainbeyond


iii). Ransomware dangers


The daily average of ransomware assaults increased by 50% in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the first half of the year in nations such as India, the United States, Sri Lanka, Russia, and Turkey. Maze and Ryuk were the most common ransomware strains, with the latter now attacking 20 businesses every week. And the trend is just getting worse.


And the recent report stated that the average ransomware assault causes 15 business days of downtime, and businesses lose roughly $8,500 per hour due to ransomware-induced downtime, with ransoms ranging from $5,000 in 2018 to $200,000 this year. Additionally, as different ransomware species collaborate, threats will become more innovative and frequent.


To protect against this danger, we recommend doing early ransomware assessments, enforcing ransomware governance, maintaining consistent operational preparedness, backing up, testing, and repeating ransomware responses.


Ransomware hackers seek to disrupt operations to exact a ransom from businesses in exchange for stolen data and intellectual property.


iv). Phishing attempts with specific targets


The frequency of phishing attempts – fraudulent attempts to access sensitive information by impersonating a trustworthy source or organization – is increasing. Phishing assaults use hacked email accounts to carry out an attack. Hackers utilize the names of organizations or character replacements to exploit fundamental human curiosity by providing users with appealing, even lucrative, links and tricking them into clicking on infected emails.


To avoid such fraudulent operations by internal teams, better security processes such as multi-factor authentication and limited employee network access are strongly suggested. The principle of least privilege works in the organization’s favor with such procedures.


v). Internet of things


In recent years, life Sciences businesses and healthcare organizations have adopted the Internet of Things (IoT), a system of interconnected computing devices that can communicate and transfer data across a multilayer network, which is very advantageous for their manufacturing units. This facilitates access to essential papers and patient information while utilizing big data to analyze industry trends and trial achievements.


Because of the industry’s specific privacy challenges to Cyber Security in Life Science, IoT can enhance an organization’s cyber risk and create additional vulnerabilities by increasing the attack surface and providing more options for hackers to access the network and even bring it down.


vi). Employee carelessness


Internal users are a vital source of data breaches and are prone to Cyber Security in Life Science in practically all sectors. Attackers have long recognized that C-level personnel should be aware of foreign cyber-attacks, and lower-level staff is more likely to be soft and ready targets.


Common types of cybercrime use human behavior to obtain sensitive information. Employee education and sensitization to social engineering traps are critical for remaining vigilant against hackers.


Ending Up!


When it comes to cyber risk, it can be managed, reduced, and recovered from, but it cannot be eliminated. Taking a holistic perspective of people, processes, and technology, as well as building a culture of risk awareness and ownership from the top-down, is critical.


Implementing a holistic Cyber Security in Life Science approach that incorporates security during the product’s design, development, and operational phases will support cyber investment priorities across the product life cycle to improve overall safety. And, with cyber attacks on the rise, it makes good financial sense to reconsider cyber insurance.

Related Posts