Biotech, Pharma, And Healthcare Firms Report High Levels of Cybersecurity Incidents and Fraud

By Sofia Adamson

As documented in an international study for the 2017-18, Kroll Annual Global Fraud & Risk Report, cyber security and fraud threats continue to achieve high levels in the biotechnology, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals industry.

78% of respondents reported that their companies had encountered an information threat or cyber incident, attack, or loss over the past twelve months. Only 7 out of 10 (67%) documented the existence of at least one security crash during the past 12 months.

The document unveils that respondents in the biotechnology, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals industry have a higher sense of susceptibility to security, fraud, and cyber risks, with information-related threats now being the part of highest concern.

As scammers and various other cyber actors continue to discover new methods to generate income from discreet information, such as information that is personal, data resources are becoming more and more valuable and eye-catching targets.

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Discreet Data Subject to Increasing Risks

Intellectual property theft, counterfeiting or piracy was probably the most widespread types of scams experienced in the biotechnology, healthcare and pharmaceuticals industry, reported by 30% of respondents, up to 10 percentage issues from the last 12 months.

Theft of physical stock and assets and misappropriation of company resources were also reported as the most widespread types of scams by 30% of respondents in the industry.

At times when major computer viruses such as Petya and WannaCry hit across the globe, nearly 4 in 10 (38%) professionals surveyed reported that their companies had been suffering from a worm or virus attack.

A 3rd (33%) reported that they’d lost machines with very sensitive information, and 31% endured an email-based phishing attack.

Loss of intellectual property (IP) and physical theft were probably the most common type of security crash.

Of all those operatives in the biotechnology, healthcare and pharmaceuticals industry whose organization had a security crash a year ago, 40% reported that their companies fell prey to IP loss or theft.

3 types of security incidents reported by respondents (category wise):

Wide-Ranging and Costly Consequences

In combination with reporting higher than normal prevalence levels, respondents from the biotechnology, healthcare and pharmaceuticals industry revealed that the consequences of security, fraud, and cyber activities were wide-ranging and costly, having an effect on customers and employees, as well as the organization’s status.

Employees’ morale, privacy, and safety were adversely affected by cyber events reported by 85% of respondents whose organizations had dealt with scams, 83% of all those that reported a cyber event, and 80% of professionals whose organizations survived a security breach.

A massive majority of respondents mentioned that clients had been adversely disturbed by the 3 risk elements – 92% by a scam’s incident, 92% by an online incident, and 80% by a security event. Much the same proportion reported that the affected company’s status had suffered as a result of security (90%), fraud (75%), or cyber (74%) event.

Companies encountered significant financial destruction from scams, with 1 in 5 respondents (20%) confirming damages of 7% or even more of company profits. No respondents from the biotechnology, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals industry reported this particular degree of monetary effect in last year’s study.

Business Owners Feeling Susceptible to Threats

The report shows rising issues among interviewed professionals regarding their companies’ probable subjection to security, fraud, and cyber threats. Particularly, information-related threats signify the top concerns for respondents across all 3 threat categories.

7 in 10 (70%) participants from the biotechnology, healthcare and pharmaceuticals industry believe that their firms are highly or fairly susceptible to data loss, attack, or theft, 13% points higher than the global average.

With criminals seeming to formulate new techniques of attack just about every day, at least 50 % of all professionals interviewed are concerned about each and every type of cyber event acknowledged in the report – with 82% particularly cautious about data removal.

The percentage of respondents from the particular industry who mentioned they feel highly or relatively prone to physical security risks was also considerable. More than 3/4 (79%) of respondents said that their companies could be specifically vulnerable to physical loss or theft of intellectual property, the foremost single issue.

Offenders Outside and Inside

Ex-employees and insiders continue to generate the greatest scam threats to organizations in the biotechnology, healthcare and pharmaceuticals industries. Respondents said that scam incidents are frequently inside employment perpetrated by one or even more of the following: senior workers (56%), professionals and/or intermediaries (41%), as well as ex-employees (38%).

Competing firms were actually the major offenders of cyber events (42%), and ex-employees were found to be accountable for 54% of security events experienced by business owners in the biotechnology, healthcare and pharmaceuticals industries.

Cutting Down the Security Risks   

Almost all anti-fraud methods mentioned in the report were broadly used by 70% of respondents in the biotechnology, healthcare and pharmaceuticals industries, with employees’ background verification the most extensively applied anti-fraud strategy at 85%.

Cyber security and safety are swiftly growing to be a governance requirement as the envisioned probability of an incident increases, worsened by growing regulatory demands and the extravagant reputational threats connected with data solitude and data loss incidents. 65% of respondents presently engage the board of company directors in the creation of cyber security procedures and policies, and another 35% expect to do so in the next twelve months.

The great majority of respondents have used security risk minimization procedures, but due to the high occurrence and feelings of being exposed around theft/loss of Intellectual Property, it turned out shocking to see that 78% of respondents have a strategy for securing IP. On the other hand, a 5th (20%) of respondents’ strategy was to put into action all these measures over the next twelve months.

Biological Attacks

We have seen only a couple of non-government-sponsored biological attacks, especially in biotechnology, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals industries. The best-known case was the mailing of anthrax spores to media channels and a couple of US senators in Sept 2001. Five people died.

Security agencies see bioterrorism as an ever-growing threat for a couple of reasons: the very first is that advancements – such as genetic combination and biological application – make it possible for the development of biological agents in ways that were typically out of the question. For example, the Japanese terrorist group Aum Shinrikyo, the gang responsible for the sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo metro in 1995, used a full-scale bioweapons system. Despite making an investment of more than $20 million in this system, the group discontinued it due to its intricacy.

These days such an attack is increasingly easy. Government authorities have dangerous agents that they may possibly have stockpiled in secure and safe places. However, the DNA code of some of them is accessible in general public databases. Fabricated biology, which facilitates the developing of artificial microorganisms, sidesteps all these shields and potentially facilitates the formation of new bioweapons.

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This article was sourced from

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