Healthcare and medical/life sciences industries have been targeted by cracker and cyber criminals for long. Healthcare and medical/life sciences industry is also a part of critical infrastructure. Critical infrastructure protection in India is now considered to be part of the policy decision of India government.
Indian government has understood that critical infrastructure protection in India is needed and it may be considered to be a part of the proposed cyber security policy of India. However, on the front of legal framework, India is still lagging far behind.
For instance, we have no laws like Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Similarly, we have no dedicated telemedicine laws in India as on date. E-health related legal framework is missing as on date. For instance, e-health in India is facing legal roadblocks. Till now we do not have any dedicated e-health laws and regulations in India. In the present environment, the legal enablement of e-health in India is urgently required.
This is so because when technology is used for medical purposes, it gives rise to medico legal and techno legal issues. As far as India is concerned, we have no dedicated e-health and telemedicine laws in India. Even essential attributes of these laws like privacy protection, data protection, data security, cyber security, confidentiality maintenance, etc are not governed by much needed dedicated laws.
Crackers and cyber criminals can exploit these techno legal weaknesses of India and can cause havoc to many lives. For instance, it has been reported that multiple gangs of Chinese crackers are now targeting the healthcare and medical/life sciences industries. In fact one Chinese group has been posing as a life sciences and drug discovery company out of Beijing to lure and drop drive-by malware on related companies from that industry.
These Chinese crackers are also a potential threat to pharmaceutical companies that invest heavily in pharmaceutical research and development. It is a very common phenomenon in cyberspace to steal trade secrets through cyber crimes around the world. If the systems of a pharmaceutical company are breached and compromised, the strategic advantage of a trade secret and pharmaceutical research is lost forever.
Healthcare and medical/life sciences industries must protect their research and development, intellectual property rights (IPRs) and trade secrets from crackers. Further, Indian government must also ensure sufficient techno legal laws to stringently deal with these crackers that have emerged as a major nuisance and threat to patients and health industry alike.