The FDA faced 1,036 security incidents in the 30 months preceding June 2015, a freedom of information request from Federal Times has revealed. The tally, which amounts to more than one incident a day, is thought to include attempts by hackers to gain access to details that indicate whether the stock of a biotech is likely to rise or fall in the future.
Concerns about the security of IT systems at FDA were thrust into the limelight in 2013 when the agency revealed hackers had made off with 14,000 records from the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. That event, which FDA said resulted in no loss of data or login details, is still the most high-profile security breach suffered by the regulator, but new data show it is far from the only time hackers have tried to gain access to information. From January 2013 to June 2015, FDA experienced 1,036 security incidents, Federal Times reports.
DRI International President Al Berman, a healthcare security expert, framed the attacks as part of the trend for unscrupulous stock traders to turn to cyber crime to gain an edge. "There has been a huge amount of hacking in the pharmaceutical world," Berman said. "One of the reasons this is being done is for stock manipulation. If you can hack the pharmaceutical [databases] and find out what their information on clinical testing is and get a preview of what the FDA is about to do, it's a huge, huge financial advantage."