QNu Labs

Pharma firms at risk of cyberattacks how companies can become hackproof

In the past few weeks, a few Indian pharmaceutical companies witnessed unprecedented and unfortunate cyberattacks. Two of the prominent firms also confirmed the data breaches in their systems.

Sunil Gupta   |   January 13, 2021


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Cybercriminals are especially eyeing pharmaceutical companies in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indian pharma firms were possibly attacked since they are providing affordable medicines on a large scale and are important in drug discovery and supply chain.

The pharmaceutical sector as a whole has become a prime target of State-sponsored hackers as they own Intellectual Property (IP) and are involved in drug discovery, both of which are of high value.

With changing geo-political landscape, Chinese aggression on our critical infrastructure has risen in recent years. In the past, China-backed hackers had reportedly attacked pharma giants like Bayer AG and Glaxo-Smithkline. With the threat looming on pharmaceutical companies, firms in India and across the globe should be prepared to secure their data unconditionally as it concerns their valuation and reputation.

The bright side of Quantum Computer in Pharma

We live in an era where electric cars are already here, driverless cars are under advance trials, SpaceX mission to enable the colonization of Mars is under development. The year 2019 also saw a massive milestone for the mankind when Google’s 53 bit quantum computer achieved the quantum supremacy. Scalable and reliable quantum computers will soon be a reality. These computers are a boon to pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and life sciences. Quantum computers have the ability and potential to change the definition of molecular comparison by enabling methods to analyse larger-scale molecules and develop new drugs.

Today, classical computers can analyse hundreds and millions of comparisons, but they are limitations in terms of the size of the molecules which they can compute. By leveraging quantum computers, companies will be able to accelerate the process of drug discovery.

Since Quantum computers are more readily available, companies will be able to compare large molecules. This will lead to pharmaceutical advancements and help firms discover cures for a range of diseases.

Quantum computers like Google, IBM, Honeywell, Riggeti, 1QBIT are also available on the cloud. Big giants in pharma are already using quantum computers for research.

Rapid digitisation of Pharmacetical industries

Digital transformation is complicating data security for organisations. The more digitally transformed an organisation, the more it becomes vulnerable to data breaches.

In recent years, the pharma industry has embraced IoT, which is a network of computing devices and digital machines that can communicate and transfer data across the system. This helps them streamline confidential information, trends and critical data.

IoTs are increasing organisation’s cyber risk and adding vulnerabilities by giving more opportunities for hackers to gain access to the network. Hence, now is the time to realise that the ‘data in motion’ is at high risk.

The Weak Link

Today's cryptosystems are mainly based on mathematical complexities. Any cryptosystem which is built on mathematical complexities—like RSA, DSA, Diffie-Hellman, ECC (Elliptical Curve Cryptography) and other variants of ciphers—is vulnerable.

Today, hackers can easily steal encrypted information because of public key access. In the near future, they will be able to decrypt private keys with a quantum computer by using Grover’s or Shor’s algorithms.

High computation power is adding concern to today's PKI. Hence, any crypto based on mathematical complexities is at risk in the present era.

The rising need of Quantum Cryptography

Forward security or secrecy is the ‘Need of the Hour’ for pharma companies today. Forward secrecy protects past sessions against future compromises of keys or passwords.

Our products and solutions, based on the laws of quantum mechanics, offer forward secrecy for critical data. Any copying of sessions and encrypted data cannot be broken in future using any compute power or algorithms known today.

Frequent generation and usage of new quantum-safe encryption keys protect data from any current and future attacks. Additionally, any attempt of eavesdropping into the network will be immediately known because we use photons to send the encrypted keys. The system will alert the network on the attempt and destroy the encryption key so that hackers don’t get access to it.

We are in quantum era now and therefore enterprise must consider to use the technology that is provable secure and is independent of the compute power in the hands of hackers.

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