The British company Hammersmith Medicines Research (HMR) was attacked by the group behind the Maze ransomware attacks. Hammersmith was a standby facility that would perform medical trials on COVID-19 vaccines that have been created. According to Hammersmith’s website, since 1993, they have conducted over 650 early-phase trials. With an average of 30-40 trials per year, the company tested the Ebola vaccine as well as drugs for Alzheimer’s disease treatment.
The Maze group attacked the facility on March 14, 2020. Previously, the ransomware group promised that they wouldn’t attack any medical organization during the pandemic. HMR was able to thwart the breach which included vital information of up to twenty years and included passport information, medical questionnaires and national insurance numbers. All systems were returned to normal and HMR paid no ransom thanks to their security.
Data Breaches and Healthcare
The FBI Cyber Division has warned recently that there has been an increase in COVID-19 scams. California, New York and Washington are the three states that will most likely be targeted because of the amount of people who have been infected by COVID-19. Forbes magazine has a running list of COVID-19 online threats.
Medical research firms are frequently targeted for their personal and health data of patients as well patented research. Obtaining patented research can be sold for profit and competitive advantage. It is really important that medical research firms and healthcare take cyber security seriously. From January to June 2019 there have been 32 million patient records that were breached in the USA.