“The hackers asked for $5 million.” Details of the hacking of El-Ezaby pharmacies (exclusive)

11:01 p.m

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Books – Ahmed Gomaa:

The El-Ezaby Pharmacies Group was subjected to a cyber attack by a group of “hackers” using malicious ransomware. They were able to seize a large set of customer data and sales movements within the branches, before the group’s technical team succeeded in controlling the situation later.

An official source within the El-Ezaby Group revealed, in exclusive statements to Masrawy, the details of the hacking of the electronic system and the El-Ezaby Pharmacies website during the past days, and the method of dealing with it.

The source, who requested to remain anonymous, said: “Indeed, there was a hack into the electronic system of pharmacies from a foreign party, where the data was hacked and leaked on the Dark Web, and they asked to negotiate money in exchange for the return of that data.”

This hack led to the disruption of the electronic work system within the El-Ezaby Pharmacies Group for about 6 continuous days, according to the source, before the technical team succeeded in recovering the data without paying the financial compensation requested by the hackers, so that the work gradually returned to its normal form and “if some of the data was not It is as it was before.”

Regarding the value of the ransom that the “hackers” demanded from the officials of El-Ezaby Pharmacies, the responsible source added: “They initially asked for 5 million dollars, and we did not pay attention to them, and they returned again to send a request for two million dollars, which is currently close to 100 million Egyptian pounds, and of course We did not respond to these requests, and our technical team dealt with this incident.”

He continued: “The IT team succeeded in a certain way in recovering the data without negotiating with the hackers, and the company’s hardware was changed with a modern one to prevent this from happening again.”

The “Hackmanac” group, which specializes in formulating cybersecurity strategies, said that the attackers gave a neglectful deadline for the El-Ezaby group to pay the ransom on March 17.

The official also touched on the impact of the hack, saying: “There are some servers that had sales data on them in previous years and have not been recovered yet, as well as data for sister companies that we have not succeeded in recovering either.”

He pointed out that the major impact was during the 6 days during which the group’s electronic system was completely disrupted, adding: “We worked in the pharmacies manually during that period by recording buying and selling transactions, as well as all financial matters in books, and we were not able to connect the Internet to any device inside.” Branches, because some branches were hacked and other branches were in good condition, and therefore we were unable to connect the Internet to any other branch to avoid being hacked as well.”

“But things are better now, and we are trying to recover the remaining data,” according to the source, who confirmed that the El-Ezaby Group is moving forward with strengthening the electronic system for pharmacies to prevent this matter from recurring.

The number of branches of the El-Ezaby pharmacy chain currently exceeds more than 250 pharmacies, while it entered into a partnership in the middle of last year, with the Sovereign Fund of Egypt and B Investments Holding Company, to provide logistical and administrative services to pharmaceutical institutions as well as drug distribution and trade services.

The fund and B Investments aim to inject an increase in capital into the company over the next two years to provide services to more than 500 pharmacies in the main governorates, starting with the existing chain of Ezaby pharmacies branches, in addition to the governorates most in need of health and pharmaceutical services.

The partners also aim to benefit from the latest technological solutions to provide a wide range of digital services that will improve operating efficiency and improve customer experience.

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