Is your pharmacy data protected from cyber attack?

As was recently evidenced in a cyber-attack on political and private sector organisations in Australia, malicious cyber activity is increasing in frequency, severity, sophistication and impact.

And it is not just happening on the other side of the world, 10% of adults in the UK and Ireland have been victims of identity theft or online banking fraud.

At McLernons, we believe that our customers could and should be doing more to help reduce security risks to your business. As the data processor of thousands of highly confidential patient records, a successful cyber-attack could see you fined upwards of €/£50,000 by the Information Commissioner (UK) or the Data Protection Commissioner (Ireland), and should your pharmacy system be infected with Ransomware you may lose all your patient records.

We strongly advise all our customers to have only McLernons software on their pharmacy hardware system. Accessing other websites and software programmes may potentially allow a route for cyber-attacks on your patient records.

Take time to consider the following four questions to help gauge your pharmacy’s vulnerability to cyber-attack.

  1. Do you have a standard router?
  2. Do you have a simple gmail or Hotmail email address?
  3. Do your staff have unrestricted access to the internet from the pharmacy system?
  4. How often do you change your passwords?

If the answer to any of these is ‘yes’, then we would strongly urge you to take immediate action to enhance your security and reduce the risk of attacks.

What can you do?

There are a number of steps that you can take to help secure your business, and these include:

  • Adding a firewall
  • Backing up your data
  • Office 365- having a business-grade email will help reduce phishing attacks
  • Protecting your systems from malware
  • Using passwords and multi-factor authentication
  • Training your staff, making them aware of how sensitive and high risk the data on your systems is.

Many of these attacks are a result of credential-stealing or data compromise. 95% of all successful cyber attacks are caused by human error – opening unsolicited emails, not having or maintaining a firewall, not educating staff about what they can and cannot access on the pharmacy systems.

The team at McLernons will do our best to help you ensure that you are as ‘fit for purpose’ as possible, and can help you improve your resilience to cyber-attacks. However, ultimately, you and your staff are responsible for the way in which you use your pharmacy system, and we may not be able to help you recover data which has been the subject of a cyber crime.

All of our staff, from Executive level down, are required to complete compulsory cyber security training through out the year, provided by an approved third party, to help us keep alert to the dangers of phishing emails, etc.

There are also helpful websites such as  NI Cyber Security Centre,,  the National Cyber Security Centres for Ireland and the UK, and,

Please contact our team at ‘[email protected]’ to find out more about installing a firewall and Office 365.




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