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COVID-19 vaccines: Ways to protect supply chains

The development vaccines for COVID-19 in such a short time it has created many challenges and these are not only related to the treatment of the virus. The pharmaceutical Companies they must have in mind the protection of data and supply chains from cyber attacks.

The intellectual property rights behind the COVID-19 vaccines and supply chains need protection with state-of-the-art technologies and systems security, as cybercriminals have already tried to steal vaccine-related data.

COVID-19 vaccines
COVID-19 vaccines: Ways to protect supply chains

Pharmaceutical companies are trying to create and supply COVID-19 vaccines immediately, but in this endeavor they have left some gaps security exploited by cybercriminals.

According report of CISA, cyber criminals have committed spear-phishing attacks to pharmaceutical companies dealing with vaccines, with the aim of theft credentials and other sensitive information.

The Phishing attacks Aiming to gather key details and steal credentials is just the beginning. According to a Lookout report, hackers target:

Research, Development & Clinical Trials

  • Collaborative research teams in all pharmaceutical manufacturers worldwide
  • Scientists creating original compounds and completing primary research to determine a vaccine

Manufacture and distribution

  • Employee systems, including tablets with manufacturing instructions
  • Networks of doctors and pharmacists
  • Distribution channels and support IT systems

Evidence so far has shown that attackers targeting vaccine supply chains for COVID-19, try to break into companies' systems and stay hidden there, for the embodiment espionage and for collection of additional confidential information from the victims' environments. Criminals initially focus on phishing and may continue to distribute malware, registration of new domain names related to COVID-19 etc.

COVID-19 vaccines
COVID-19 vaccines: Ways to protect supply chains

How can Covid-19 vaccine supply chains be protected?

First, note that the combination of many practices and strategies security increases the chances of protecting intellectual property and vaccines.

So what should pharmacists do? Companies to protect the supply chain of COVID-19 vaccines:

  • Priority in Privileged Access Management (PAM) throughout the supply chain, ensuring minimal access to sensitive data. According to CISA, many attempts have been made to steal privileged accounts credentials. PAM is essential for introduction of greater controls around these privileged accounts throughout the supply chain and provides the only access to sensitive ones is required data.
  • Implementation of the zero-trust approach for safety each endpoint in all vaccine manufacturer's systems and networks. This means that there are strong controls for anyone and everything. Many times, companies leave vaccine supply chains vulnerable because they follow the outdated "trust but verify" approach.
  • Extending the Zero Trust approach throughout the supply chain with application segmentation and security endpoint at all stages of the vaccine development cycle. This will ensure that attackers will not have the opportunity to embed malicious code to activate it later. The aim is to promote the Zero Trust in all vaccine-related procedures.
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA) application in each system in the vaccine supply chain. Username and passwords access by themselves are not enough. The MFA helps authenticate authorized users and offers extra security.
  • Use of an AIOps platform (artificial intelligence for IT operations) capable of integrating different IT environments into a single, coherent AI-based system that can detect strange real-time network behavior and take action to prevent breaches.
  • Unified Endpoint Security (UES) should become standard in all vaccine supply chains.
  • Pharmaceutical supply chains need to have a strategy to achieve more consistent Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) on each device and threat surface of the vaccine supply chain. UEM has many advantages. It takes care of the constant updates of the operating system of mobile platforms, allows the management of devices independently of the connection, supports a wide range of devices and operating systems, etc.
  • Finally Track-and-traceability is essential in any vaccine supply chain. Makes the idea of ​​online passports that include serialization for vaccine batches more realistic and allows continuous monitoring.
supply chains
COVID-19 vaccines: Ways to protect supply chains

The use of effective safety practices in vaccine supply chains can help pharmaceutical companies Companies around the world to create and distribute their vaccines safely. It seems that traditional supply chains and distribution media have already been targeted by criminals. The combination of multiple tactics and strategies can offer more safety.

Source: Forbes

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