French pharmaceuticals distribution platform Apodis Pharma leaking 1.7+ TB of confidential data

Pierluigi Paganini December 01, 2020

The CyberNews investigation team discovered French pharmaceuticals distribution platform Apodis Pharma leaking 1.7+ TB of confidential data.

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The CyberNews investigation team discovered an unsecured, publicly accessible Kibana dashboard of an ElasticSearch database containing confidential data belonging to Apodis Pharma, a software company based in France.

Apodis Pharma is a company that offers a digital supply chain management platform and other software solutions created for pharmacies, healthcare institutions, pharmaceutical laboratories, and health insurance companies.

The database discovered by CyberNews contains over 1.7 TB of confidential business-related data, including pharmaceutical sales data, full names of Apodis Pharma partners and employees, client warehouse stock statistics, pharmaceutical shipment locations and addresses, and more.

On November 17, Apodis Pharma closed the database – it is no longer accessible to the public.

What’s in the database?

The unsecured Apodis Pharma ElasticSearch database contains seven unique indexes, which include the following:

  • An archive of confidential pharmaceutical shipment data, shipment storage status, the precise times and locations of where the shipments have been picked up by sellers or distributors, as well as the quantity of pharmaceuticals in the shipments.
  • An archive of 25,000+ partner and client organizations, such as pharmaceutical laboratories and pharmacies, serviced by the Apodis Pharma distribution platform.
  • Two archives of products stored in Apodis Pharma client warehouses, containing 17,324,382 entries and 32,960,114 entries each. The archives include product data like product quantities and IDs, as well as warehouse data.
  • An archive of confidential product sales data containing 17,556,928 quarterly entries that includes information such as sales dates, locations, prices, and quantities sold between Apodis Pharma clients like pharmaceutical laboratories and pharmacies.
  • An archive of user data containing 4,436 entries, including full names of people who appear to be Apodis Pharma clients, partners, and employees.
  • Consumer and client data visualizations and analytics, including consumer gender statistics, and presumably confidential client sales and warehouse stocks charts.

Storing confidential client and patient data on a publicly accessible server without any kind of authentication process in place is highly dangerous, especially for organizations related to pharmaceuticals – during a worldwide pandemic.

Who had access to the database?

At the time of writing this report, it is still unclear who had access to the publicly available Apodis Pharma database. 

However, the database has already been indexed on at least one popular IoT search engine, which means that there is almost no doubt that the data has been accessed and possibly downloaded by outside parties for potentially malicious purposes.

What’s the impact of the Apodis Pharma leak?

Malicious actors with unauthorized access to this database could cause a lot of damage not only to the clients of Apodis Pharma, but also to untold numbers of unsuspecting patients across France.

  • Attackers could leak the confidential information to severely damage trust in the company, or blackmail Apodis Pharma and its clients by hijacking the database and holding it hostage.
  • Malicious actors with an intention to disrupt the pharmaceutical supply chain in France could meddle with client and patient names, prices, addresses, and product IDs in order to cause widespread confusion, mix-ups, and – potentially – drug shortages across more than 25,000 laboratories, warehouses, and pharmacies across France during a pandemic.
  • Intruders could download the database and sell it to the competitors of Apodis Pharma clients, who would be able to make business decisions based on the confidential information found in the database.

 “Unfortunately, server-side data leaks like this are still common these days. While some companies might think that leaving their Kibana dashboards accessible to the public is no big deal, 1.7TB of information is a very tempting target for cybercriminals. Malicious actors will jump at the opportunity to either steal or ransom such a massive amount of company data. After noticing one misconfiguration, they can then begin to probe the rest of the company’s defenses, looking for other, even more lucrative blind spots, which might result in far more damage than the initial leak.  This is why all organizations – from small businesses to the largest multinationals – should make sure to shore up their cyber defenses before it’s too late.” said Senior Writer & Researcher Edvardas Mikalauskas.


Following our vulnerability disclosure guidelines, we notified Apodis Pharma about the misconfiguration on October 22. However, we received no reply. Our follow-up communications were left unanswered as well. We then reached out to CERT France on October 29 in order to help secure the database. CERT contacted Apodis Pharma and informed the company about the misconfiguration.

However, more than two weeks later, the database was still publicly accessible. For this reason, we reached out directly to Apodis Pharma CTO Mathieu Bolard on November 16, who had the issue fixed the following day.

About the Author: Edvardas Mikalauskas

Edvardas is a Senior Writer and Researcher at CyberNews.

He writes about cybersecurity, privacy, and the impact of technology on the daily lives of consumers. He has a background in media, advertising, social, privacy, and security.

On CyberNews, Edvardas tends to focus on the subjects of data privacy and cybersecurity. His investigative reports on major data leaks, security vulnerabilities, and the black markets of the dark web have been featured in ForbesTechRadarReasonTechRepublicSC Magazine, and more.

With eight years of experience writing articles for web startups and tech publications, his bylines can be seen on ReadWriteDZoneHacker NoonCybersec Asia and more.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Apodis Pharma)

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