Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Fareva Blocked By Cyberattack

The Fareva company, which works in particular on the commercialization of a vaccine against Covid-19, has been paralyzed since December 15 by a ransomware-type cyberattack. The return to operation of the systems is hoped for by the end of the week.

The pharmaceutical subcontractor Fareva has been struggling with ransomware since December 14, and the restart of its production device is slow in coming according to information from France Bleu Touraine.

The attack was made public on December 17 in the press: according to Les Echos, it was the company’s data center, based in Savigny-le-Temple, that was affected. As a rebound effect, several factories of the group specializing in the transport and packaging of pharmaceutical and cosmetic products were shut down by the attack, according to the daily. A record that management tempers with Les Echos, indicating that only French sites would be affected by the attack.

The management of the group then affirmed that the rapid reaction of the IT teams had made it possible to limit data loss and counted on a return to operation of the production plants from January 4. But according to France Bleu Touraine, which quotes union sources, the machines at the Amboise plant were still at a standstill on Monday, with almost all of the plant’s workers on short-time work since December 22. The gradual resumption of activity at the site is now expected for the weekend.

Fareva is a Luxembourg-based company. It was notably selected by the German group CureVac to package the vaccine against Covid-19. For group chairman Bernard Fraisse, the link between the attack and the announcement would be “obvious”.

A complicated end of the year for the health sector
In addition to Fareva, several French hospitals were victims of cyberattacks in December: the Albertville-Moûtiers hospital center, in Savoie, announced that it had been affected by ransomware on December 22. The hospital center was able to continue to operate in a degraded manner, but several services and equipment were made unavailable by the attack. Earlier this month, it was Narbonne Hospital that reported being the victim of a cyber attack, but this time it was about harnessing the computing power of its equipment to mine cryptocurrency. While the damage was limited, the measures taken to disinfect the information system forced the establishment’s employees to work several days without internet access.

In December, the French and German cybersecurity agencies issued a joint statement alerting the sector to the resurgence of attacks targeting health organizations.

The healthcare sector faced numerous attacks during the month of December 2020. The attack targeting the European Medicines Agency earlier this month allowed unauthorized third parties to access related documents vaccine approval. IBM also reported an upsurge in phishing attacks targeting companies responsible for the delivery of vaccines. Globally, Checkpoint confirms a similar trend, indicating that it has seen a 45% increase in attacks targeting the healthcare sector since November 2020.

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