ERT faces a ransomware attack; disrupts several clinical trials
Category: #health  By Saipriya Iyer  Date: 2020-10-06
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ERT faces a ransomware attack; disrupts several clinical trials

eResearchTechnology (ERT), a Philadelphia-based healthcare company that specializes in offering software for clinical services and trials, recently revealed that it was hit by a ransomware attack. Reportedly, the attack slowed down some of the clinical trials and operations of prominent drug companies and medical institutions.

As per reliable sources, the attack began two weeks ago when ERT staff members realized that their data was locked out by ransomware, a mode of attack where hackers hold victims’ data until they are offered a specified ransom.

ERT assured that clinical trial patients had nothing to worry about, but some customers did state that the attack had forced trial researchers to rely on pen and paper for tracking their patients. Companies like IQVIA, the contract research organization aiding AstraZeneca in managing its COVID vaccine trial, and Bristol Myers Squibb, the pharmaceutical that is leading a consortium of firms in developing a quick test for the COVID-19 virus, were affected by this attack

However, ERT has not disclosed the number of clinical studies affected by this attack, but it is estimated that its software is being employed in multiple drug trials across Asia, North America and Europe.

Drew Bustos, Vice President of Marketing, eResearchTechnology, confirmed that the attack had detained its systems on Sept. 20. As a measure of precaution, the company took its servers offline for the day and notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation while the outside cybersecurity experts looked into it.

Meanwhile, one of the largest US health systems, Universal Health Services disclosed that the ransomware attack on ERT had affected its US care hospitals and sites. This forced their clinicians into EHR downtime procedures.

UHS officials confirmed the incident to be an act of IT disruption, but now has updated the notification clearly stating that it was a malware cyberattack. The company also informed that all systems were instantly disconnected, and networks were taken off-grid to prevent further attacks.

Source Credit: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/03/technology/clinical-trials-ransomware-attack-drugmakers.htm



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Saipriya Iyer

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Saipriya Iyer

Saipriya Iyer develops content for Market Size Forecasters, Algosonline, and myriad other platforms. A computer engineer by profession, she ventured into the field of writing for the love of playing with words. Having had a previous experience of 3 years under her bel...

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