Escalating Threat of Cyber Crime in Life Sciences and Healthcare


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Escalating Threat of Cyber Crime in Life Sciences and Healthcare


 Oxford, UK – From cyber blackmail to IP theft life science companies find themselves at increasing risk of online attack. Medical records are the new currency among cyber-criminals, with black market values set at ten times higher than credit card information. UK hospitals are not exempt from this burgeoning threat, as cyber-criminals are targeting information of value wherever it resides, including within healthcare organisations. UK hospitals carry extremely sensitive medical records, as do their US counterparts, which recently succumbed to a ransomware attack causing significant damage.

Healthcare users are apparently willing to pay up to £12,000 to decrypt their files following a ransomware attack (the average return on such an attack in the private sector is £400) so the motivation for hackers to focus on healthcare environments is significant. This offensive against the healthcare industry is a result of not only lax security practices, but also the simplicity and efficaciousness of attacks on the relevant IT systems.’

This does not just affect hospitals. Trials data is equally valuable as is the IP upon which many Life-Sciences businesses are based. Can you imagine having to re-run a significant trial or know that hackers have been able to identify the people taking part?

Too many people operate without getting their systems checked by an independent third-party in the belief that they are not a target or that their protections are enough.

A hacker group has been targeting companies in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry. They are particularly interested in gaining knowledge of M&A deals or major market moving announcements of public companies.  Many small biotech companies and startups pose lucrative opportunities and have been starting to report attacks.

In 2014 Reuters cited a private notice from the FBI alleging that “[th]e healthcare industry is not as resilient to cyber intrusions compared to the financial and retail sectors, therefore the possibility of increased cyber intrusions is likely.”

Since the earliest identified cases in 2008, there has been a visible increase in the number of hacking incidents involving biotech firms.

Regulators have already signaled that cybersecurity risk assessments are fundamental to meeting legal requirements and can define the baseline for what constitutes reasonable security measures.

OBN Members can now access an expert service offering them up to 10% discount on a Information Security Health Assessment. This service delivers a high-level report clearly identifying the organisation’s strengths and weaknesses with actionable recommendations. Available from cyber security specialists CQR this world class service looks at all these areas of potential danger.

  • Personnel
  • Physical controls
  • Organisation
  • Policy
  • Asset classification and control
  • Network and computer management
  • System access control
  • Business continuity
  • Data security and resilience
  • Supplier management and third party access
  • Application development and maintenance
  • Incident management
  • Compliance

CQR can also perform an optional penetration test. On completion of the review CQR will provide you with a detailed report highlighting their findings and key risks, with a prioritised list of recommended areas to be addressed. Should you need assistance and support addressing any issues raised CQR are there to help.

Take advantage of this offer now, contact Stewart Benger by telephone on 07783 312130 or by email at don’t forget to tell him you are an OBN Member.


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