Novartis Becomes the Latest Pharma Company to be Hacked By Cyber Criminals

  • By Steven
  • Sep 06, 2022

Novartis, a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Switzerland, has been victimized by keyboard criminals. Hackers pounced on the pharma powerhouse, stealing its data through what appears to be a web-based extortion scam.

The hack comes on the heels of several other breaches at large corporations and some prominent players within the pharmaceutical industry. Let's shift our attention away from the fact that attacks against pharma companies have significantly ramped up in frequency and damage across the previous three years. Below, we look at what really went down during the Novartis hack and its aftermath. 

Who was Behind the Attack?

The criminal ring responsible for Novartis's extortion is called Industrial Spy.

How was the Hack Performed?

The hackers behind this digital heist plucked data straight out of Novartis' internal computing systems, focusing on medical technologies pertaining to RNA and DNA. Scientific and medical advances related to the mysteries of DNA are especially meaningful as an understanding of the idiosyncrasies of the species' genetic makeup sets the stage for even more significant advances. 

Novartis officials refused to provide specific details on how hackers accessed the data in question. However, it is known that the information in question was stolen from the company's manufacturing center's lab environment.

What Became of the Stolen Data?

Industrial Spy tried to make money from the stolen information by posting it on the web for sale. The hackers requested half a million dollars worth of crypto for the data.

When was the Data Stolen?

The data was stolen earlier this winter. One of the publicized screen captures about the attack shows a date of February.

How Much Data was Stolen?

The screen capture referenced above notes that the stolen data amounts to slightly less than 8 MB in size. However, it is possible the criminals responsible for the attack also stole additional data during the heist not revealed in a screen capture. Some of the stolen information was posted for sale in an online forum. However, Novartis officials did not indicate whether that public advertisement led to financial gain, a competitive disadvantage for the enterprise as a whole, or another unfortunate outcome.

How did Novartis React to the Hack?

Novartis officials acknowledged the data breach. The company's representatives contacted national media outlets to clarify that the threat actor did not take sensitive information. The company's spokesperson also stated it added digital security measures to offset such threats and safeguard internal data. 

Why Should Other Businesses Pay Attention to the Novartis Breach?

As time progresses, hackers are expanding their scope, zeroing in on businesses of all different types and sizes. Once thought to be nearly invincible in terms of online security, the world's leading pharmaceutical businesses are now in the metaphorical crosshairs of digital threat actors.

According to the FBI's web crime complain center, internet-based crimes have increased by 400% since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you haven't updated your work or home computer and network with the industry’s best digital safeguards, it is only a matter of time before hackers choose you as their next target.

Enhance your digital defenses today, and you'll bravely move forward into an unpredictable future likely to be dominated by rapid tech advances and heightened security concerns. A safe journey into a tech-dominant future begins with antivirus protection, firewalls, malware defense, and more.

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