Over 92% of Pharmaceutical Firms are Prone to Cyber Attacks, New Report Highlights – E Hacking News


Reposify, the leading external attack surface management platform published its Pharmaceutical Industry Attack Surface Exposures Report analyzing the security status of the world’s leading pharmaceutical firms and their 900-plus branches.

Data analysts at Reposify examined the data covering a two-week period in March 2021 and discovered that 92% of the pharmaceutical companies had at least one exposed database with potential data breach, while 46% had an unmasked Server Message Block (SMB) service. 

SMB is a communication protocol that allows networks within the same system to share files. It also offers an authenticated inter-process communication mechanism. The last time when SMB services were exploited was the infamous 2017 WannaCry cyberattack, targeting 80 NHS trusts across England. 

The Department of Homeland Security and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued an early warning in the response that attackers were leveraging password spraying campaigns in order to target pharmaceutical companies, research firms, and other health care organizations involved in the COVID-19 response. 

Last year, threat actors targeted 53% of pharmaceuticals or biotech companies, including the European Medicines Agency, which led to a breach of Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine data. The average cost of a pharmaceutical industry breach stood at $5.06m in 2020, a sum 1.3 times higher than the global average. 

“The pharmaceutical sector is one of the largest contributors to the global economy and human welfare. But pharmaceutical companies are struggling to protect their distributed network perimeter from increased cyber-attacks coming from well-funded and well-organized hacking groups on the hunt to steal and hold valuable, confidential data for ransom or other nefarious acts,” said Uzi Krieger, CEO of Reposify. 

“COVID-19 is still ravaging parts of the world, variants are spiking, and the safety of clinical research, manufacturing and supply chains have never been so important to humanity, and yet, pharmaceutical companies remain ill prepared and unsecured, spiraling the industry into red level vulnerability to external attacks, “ Krieger added. 

Luckily, of all security flaws uncovered, 72% were categorized in a low-risk category. However, 15% were classified as critical, 7% were high-risk, and 6% were medium risk. The median number of high-severity risks for each firm was 269, while the median of critical flaws per company was 125. These risks were linked to vulnerable software (38%), improper access controls (33%), and potential DDoS (23%), among others.

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