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Biotech and cybersecurity myths

The field of life sciences and the cyber dangers it faces

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Biotech is a valuable, data and tech-driven field researching powerful, life-altering sciences. But despite its reputation and pursuits, the field of biotech and all its related organizations is not immune to cyber threats.

If there’s data to be stolen, threat actors will go after it. In 2021 alone, hackers and ransomware gangs targeted everything from critical infrastructure to school networks. If you haven’t considered a cybersecurity plan now, you should.

The cybersecurity myths to watch out for

“We’re too small to be targeted.”

This one has plagued SMBs for years. It’s the notion a business is too small a target for ransomware gangs (and otherwise). That’s unfortunately not true, threat actors have targeted SMBs so long as the victim has their defenses down. That could mean weak cybersecurity infrastructure, falling for phishing schemes, or lacking solid backup options.

Never assume you’re safe because of size, even if your biotech enterprise is a startup.

“Don’t worry about security, that’s an IT problem.”

This is a bad philosophy to integrate into any IT and/or cybersecurity infrastructure. Any major function passed off to a part of your business model without support is also inherently negligent, given a business is meant to be a cohesive team.

But IT can’t fight the tide of cyber threats alone. Cybersecurity is a mixture of threats which require knowledge fundamentals on all levels, such as not falling for basic phishing schemes. Burdening an IT team with all aspects of cybersecurity only leads to extensive burnout, less effective responses, and even weaker cybersecurity from before.

“Our expensive anti-malware solutions will take care of everything.”

More money into “advanced,” expensive anti-virus software is good, right? After all, it costs a lot, so it must be quality and work all the time! But no, not at all.

A “set it and forget it” style to cybersecurity approach is a fast way to meet catastrophe head-on. As such, believing anti-malware software is enough to thwart threats is serious negligence. While it does a good job of preventing standard threats, anti-malware solutions do not address the other complex attacks from threat actors.

Anti-virus is the beginning, not the end result.

“Threats are an external problem.”

With all that goes on in the news about cyber-attacks, it’s tempting to assume threats are an outside factor only. So, if you build the perfect “digital mote,” no reason to worry, right?

As it turns out, cyber threats are a serious problem from within. Human error is common, and mistakes can bring unintentional harm to an enterprise network. Phishing and social media schemes, for example, remain as the most effective method for attackers to deliver malicious payloads. These are only successful when deceiving people “on the inside” of a network.

It’s important to understand threat surfaces, both inside and outside.

“Actually, we routinely conduct penetration tests, keep up with security trends, and thus have achieved total cyber safety.”

Wouldn’t it be great to live in that world, where applying robust solutions and practicing safe strategies made you safe? But unfortunately, there’s no such thing as “total cybersecurity,” as in, no chance of a threat occurrence. It’s a constant tug-of-war that happens on a daily basis. You can only be prepared and proactive.

“No one would go for biotech and life sciences data!”

Hackers, ransomware gangs, and threat actors are vultures and have zero remorse for their targets. If you have valuable data, they’ll want it. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, hackers were more than happy to go after over-burdened hospitals and vulnerable people. They don’t care, so never assume they’ll treat your goals with an ounce of morality.

Biotech is a fascinating field driven by discovery and data. That makes it a high-value target amongst dangerous malware gangs. If you find your enterprise dating any of the above myths, it’s time for a change.

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