Supply Chain Risk and the Healthcare Sector
Healthcare is critical infrastructure, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has made it a major focus of cybercriminals in 2020, which exacerbates the cybersecurity challenges that the industry consistently faces. However, healthcare organizations are uniquely vulnerable to supply chain and third-party risk.
Most healthcare providers are extremely dependent upon modern technology. A ransomware infection on an MRI machine could delay a critical diagnosis, and compromise of Internet-connected medical devices could cause a breach of sensitive medical data or injury or death (in the case of Internet-connected pacemakers, medication dispensers, etc.).
Identifying and managing supply chain risk is critical in healthcare. Otherwise, hospitals run the risk of being incapable of providing critical care due to a cyberattack, as occurred multiple times during 2020.
Supply Chain Risk and COVID-19
It is commonly known that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine requires a sophisticated “cold chain” to keep it viable during distribution. The vaccine needs to be kept at -70 degrees Celsius throughout the distribution process.
This requirement for a “cold chain” creates significant supply chain vulnerabilities for the vaccine. IBM has reported that it had detected efforts to potentially disrupt this supply chain by targeting transport companies, manufacturers of solar panels for transport vehicles, and dry ice distributors. If the attack was successful, it could have disrupted the distribution of the vaccine, inhibiting affected countries’ efforts to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control.