COVID-19 Clinical Trials Slowed After Ransomware Attack
A ransomware attack was launched at the eResearch Technology, a medical software company that supplies pharma companies with tools for conducting clinical trials – including trials for COVID-19 vaccines.
Healthcare organizations are a prime target for ransomware, as they contain sensitive patient data and for large, profitable organizations, cybercriminals know that they have the means to pay the ransom after their data is stolen. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are stealing intellectual property to auction it to the dark web to increase their financial profits from the attack.
According to reports, the cyberattack on the Philadelphia company has slowed down those trials over the past two weeks, as researchers were forced to switch to pen and paper for tracking patient data.
it’s unclear what the motivation behind this ransomware attack ultimately was, it’s known that attacks on organizations leading the medical fight against the coronavirus pandemic have been continuing.
In March, the World Health Organization was targeted by espionage crews looking for coronavirus response information; and in May, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned that China-lined nation-state spies are actively cyber-hunting for clinical research.
Chloé Messdaghi, vice president of strategy mentioned that there’s been an intense upscale in attacks, anything connected to sensitive data for COVID-19 is definitely under threat by foreign nation-state actors or foreign competing companies looking to find usable information. Or, it could be an individual attacker or a group of attackers trying to collect money. Attackers understand this has exceptional worth because the companies are very well positioned financially, and that clinical trials make a quick payoff very advantageous.