Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased cyber risk significantly, with certain situations being exploited by malicious actors during the crisis. This includes a rush to utilize remote working with little time to plan or train employees, a high demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), lockdown measures, reduced mobility, and increased fear and anxiety among the public. This case study contains a review of the rise in cyber attacks on the healthcare industry seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, with examples of attacks on biopharmaceutical and research companies, hospitals, payers, and other healthcare providers.


Key Highlights

  • Hospitals and healthcare providers are particularly vulnerable to attacks. For most hospitals and other healthcare providers, focus and resources during the COVID-19 healthcare emergency have been on fighting the pandemic. Unfortunately, this means that many have been left vulnerable to cynical cyber attacks. Smaller organizations or those that have not invested in cybersecurity could be particularly vulnerable to attacks. These vulnerabilities will only be heightened further with increased use of virtual care and connected devices during the pandemic, such as telemedicine and remote patient monitoring. Healthcare providers need to ensure that basic measures are in place to minimize risk and disruption from cyber attacks.
  • Hospitals and healthcare providers will be supported by the cybersecurity community during the pandemic. Initiatives by leading cybersecurity companies will help keep many hospitals and healthcare providers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing them to focus on saving lives. This crisis has highlighted serious gaps in cybersecurity measures undertaken by many healthcare organizations. Criminals will continue to exploit these once the pandemic has abated. Hospitals and providers will need to invest in stronger post-COVID cybersecurity strategies to prevent these attacks in the future.
  • Biopharmaceutical and research companies are prime targets for cyber criminals. The biopharmaceutical and research industries are key targets for state-sponsored groups looking to steal IP and other valuable information, as well as from hacktivists. While some hackers have stated they will not target healthcare providers during the pandemic for ethical reasons, biopharmaceutical and research companies are unlikely to be spared from cyber attacks. Research institutes are particularly vulnerable to attacks as they are smaller organizations with less resources and funding to focus on cybersecurity. The fact that Russia has recently approved the first COVID-19 vaccine should be of considerable concern to those working in the field, and research institutes need to improve their cybersecurity measures significantly.
  • The biopharmaceutical industry was investing in cybersecurity prior to the pandemic. While recent examples show that research institutes are vulnerable to attacks, the biopharmaceutical industry was already investing in this technology prior to the pandemic, with plans to increase spend even more in this area in the future. Compared to research institutes, the biopharmaceutical industry is probably better prepared for a cyber attack. However, companies need to continue to train and educate staff on cybersecurity best practices, especially as remote working becomes the norm.




Scope

This case study contains the following -

  • A review of why the healthcare industry is vulnerable to cyber attacks
  • An assessment of the increased risk of cyber attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • An overview of what companies should do to combat the threat of cyber attacks
  • Examples of cyber attacks on hospitals, payers, and other healthcare providers
  • Examples of cyber attacks on biopharmaceutical and research companies
  • Examples of cybersecurity provider responses to the pandemic




Reasons To Buy

  • Get an overview of why the healthcare industry is vulnerable to cyber attacks and what companies should do to combat risk.
  • See examples of cyber attacks across the healthcare industry and what these companies did in response to these.
  • See what cybersecurity providers are responding to the pandemic by providing support to the healthcare industry.