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How does Ransomware affect a dental practice?

Ransomware
Ransomware

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of computer virus that takes your files and locks them up so you can’t access them. The price to get the data back ranges from $200-$1000, which you need to pay in Bitcoin or other Cryptocurrency. Once you pay your money, the criminals will release your data again.

Cyber attackers choose to use ransomware for many reasons. It can be a lucrative way of making money from organizations that are usually willing to pay in an attempt of uninterrupted flow of business and lose consumer trust. Additionally, there is high margin potential with this criminal enterprise because cyber criminals only need minimal effort put into their work before they get maximum payout. Three common attack vectors used by these people are: 

A) Phishing emails – Phishing is a popular attack vector for ransomware. This type of phishing usually uses email links to trick users into giving up their credentials, which can then be used on key systems and installed with the malware. A new tactic that has been seen in recent years is fake attachments being emailed instead of hyperlinks or emails containing both tactics simultaneously. Once clicked by unsuspecting recipients who think they are opening an attachment from someone they know, this malicious software will download automatically without any user interaction required whatsoever.

B) Remote desktop protocol (RDP) – Remote desktop protocol, or RDP, has seen a dramatic change in popularity over the last few years. In 2019 alone it accounted for nearly 60% of all ransomware attacks but by 2020 that number had declined significantly to less than 20%. This sudden shift can be attributed to the rise in remote work and an increased vulnerability with security protocols relating to this new normality. The ease of accessing information remotely through these systems led many attackers who may not have been as skilled before into taking advantage because they were able to infiltrate poorly protected networks easily using passwords from previous breaches on other services.

C). Unpatched software protection – Software vulnerabilities come in third among common ransomware delivery methods. Unpatched software not only opens the door to malware intrusions but lays out a welcome mat as well. In some cases when it’s not patched or updated properly – attackers can access networks without having to harvest credentials and then launch attacks on key programs, viewing sensitive data along with exfiltrating them too.

How do Ransomware attacks make dental offices vulnerable?

Working in a busy dental office is hard enough. But there is more to worry about. Because of the “new normal” working from home or on the road between dental practice sites can involve a lot of juggling with your own laptop, phone and tablet. Though you might not be able to apply all the security measures that are available for computers in an office setting, you still have some control over how much risk is involved by requiring any personal equipment used for work to meet certain standards like minimum antivirus software and password protection (depending on what type it has).

There’s the threat of cyberattacks, which can make business management difficult for dentists. Hackers are also always coming up with ways to trick employees into revealing technical details that make your computers or dental network information system vulnerable. For example, a hacker might pose as a computer supplier and claim they need passwords in order to perform maintenance. The casual atmosphere of Facebook may be conducive to such deceptions so it is important not share information about company systems on social media platforms like this one!

One type of cyberattack,called ransomware encrypts your data so you can’t access it and deletes it if you don’t pay a ransom.

Ransomware attacks are a major threat to dental offices of all sizes. They can prevent you from accessing important data, and even if your files get decrypted after paying the ransom, there is no guarantee that they will work properly afterward.

Attacks on dental practices can lead to costly downtime, which could last for hours, weeks or even months. This can be crippling if a dentist doesn’t have access to patient information and has no functioning system in place that will allow them to treat patients. They might also suffer from tarnished reputation when they lose trust of the community after their data is compromised.

And not to mention, you might incur a hefty penalty for violating HIPAA regulations. You may also have to pay for forensic investigations, data loss and recovery service as well as credit monitoring services if the patients are affected by this leak in privacy.

In December of 2019, 100 dental offices in America were targeted by a ransomware attack. The attack came from a Colorado company called PerCSoft Consulting. This attack was just like the one in August that affected hundreds of dentists and also left them without access to their patient records and schedules.

How do you protect your dental office from a potential Ransomware attack?

Never click on unsafe links: You never know who might be waiting on the other side of a hyperlink. If you’re clicking unsafe links, an automatic download could start that can lead to your computer getting infected with malware.

Avoid disclosing personal information:  You should never reply to a text message, call, or email from an untrusted source when they ask for any personal information. This is because cybercriminals might use this information in advance before carrying out their ransomware attack on you and then tailor phishing messages specifically towards your needs during the actual attack. If there’s anything that makes you suspicious at all about whether it really was them who sent the request just contact them directly instead of replying blindly.

Do not open suspicious email attachments:  Beware of email attachments that are dubious and avoid opening them. If you do, never open the attachment if it asks for macros to be run in order to view files – this will give malware control over your computer.

Never use unknown data storage devices: Be wary of the flash drives or other external data storage devices you find on your way to work. Cybercriminals may have infected them and left them in public places with hopes that somebody will use them unwittingly, putting them at risk for cyber-attacks.

Have reliable dental network security solutions:  It is important to maintain cybersecurity for your computer, and one of the best ways that you can do so is by installing an internet security solution. Installing a licensed software will allow your computer to block any infected files when downloading or streaming content through it in real-time, which helps keep ransomware away from infecting computers. An installed internet security tool also allows detection and blocking of malware attacks by using scans and other protection methods equally on both local accesses and remote attempts at accessing data with malicious intent.

Dentists are busy professionals who don’t have time to deal with IT issues. Dental offices need a reliable IT provider they can trust and who can get their dental networks secured from viruses and ransomware attacks.

Dillon Dental Networks is a trusted dental IT support company in San Diego, CA. We provide a range of dental IT support services such as 24/7 network monitoring, security solutions to software and hardware products for managing your office, and HIPAA compliance training. We know dentistry inside and out so we can keep your San Diego practice running smoothly. Our team has over 15 years of experience in the industry—we live and breathe dental technology every day. Whether it’s an upgrade or an issue, our friendly staff will be there to provide you with the best care possible.

Our goal is to make sure you’re able to focus on what matters most – providing quality care for your patients without having to worry about network security and technology keeping things running smoothly behind the scenes.

Get in touch with us today at with the following details:

☎ 800-509-0344

📧 hello@dillondentalnetworks.com

💻 https://dillondentalnetworks.com/

🏢  2195 Faraday Ave, Carlsbad, CA 92008, United States


Dillon Dental Networks has been helping San Diego dental practices run smoothly for years. We’re a team of experts who understand the unique needs of dentists and their offices, which is why we provide complete managed IT services that are customized to fit each client’s budget and business goals.

To learn more about our software and dental IT support, you may visit:

Our dental IT experts also provide HIPAA and HITECH compliance support and training to ensure that your dental office adheres to federal regulations.

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