According to recent news, the ADA (the American Dental Association) confirmed a ransomware attack. Unfortunately, this means that dentists are exposed to suffering the same fate. Protecting yourself is essential, so you must know as much as you can about this topic.
Even though the ADA suffered from this attack, representatives did not disclose which type of data the attackers leaked. Nonetheless, hackers posted some of it on the dark web.
Apparently, the data includes dentists’ information, accounting spreadsheets, non-disclosure agreements, data on ADA members, and W2 forms. All dentists must be prepared and ready to deal with these issues in case they have to go through them.
The official notice the organization posted mentioned that they were victims of a sophisticated cyber-attack on April 22, 2022. Consequently, the ADA’s computer system could not properly function.
Cybersecurity experts immediately rushed to investigate the issue. However, they could not stop the hackers from sharing sensitive information.
A source reported that hackers stole 2.8 gigabytes of information. The ADA’s investigation process concluded on June 10, 2022, when experts were able to determine the precise nature of the leaked information as well as the identity of the affected parties.
Although the American Dental Association identified some of the information that hackers had access to, attackers have publicly said that what they leaked was only about 30% of the data they took. Therefore, it’s highly likely that at some point, they will release more things online.
To help dentists protect themselves, the ADA released a guide. The following actions are some suggestions you might want to follow if you wish to protect your information from potential attackers:
- If there’s the possibility of remote login, enable two-factor authentication
- Set your anti-malware and anti-virus programs and make sure they regularly conduct scans
- Enable spam filters and make sure they can detect phishing emails – you don’t want these to reach users
- Regularly update your software
- Filter network traffic
Even though the American Dental Association has given multiple suggestions for you to be able to prevent attacks, there is no way to know if it’s going to happen to you or not.
At the same time, being extra vigilant and preparing yourself for the worst is not a bad idea. On the contrary, it can help you ensure that your data is safe.
To guarantee your business continuity, you have to prevent ransomware attacks. If it happened to the ADA, it could hapen to you. Therefore, protecting your data integrity is crucial. Here are three tips that you should consider if you want to be safe at all times:
Hire an Expert Cybersecurity Consultant
You need to handle daily operational needs. Thus, having an IT expert is one of the best alternatives because they will help you detect possible issues, prevent problems, make backups for your information, and handle bugs and updates.
Technology is constantly advancing, and so are threats. Hackers rapidly change the methods they use to steal information, so cybersecurity experts must be aware of the new and sophisticated techniques attackers can use to access your data.
When you hire an IT professional, you’re making sure that if there’s a global attack, they will immediately respond and know what to do.
Go Beyond Anti-virus
Ensuring your data security requires you to do more than just download and activate an anti-virus. You have to implement a myriad of techniques that allow you to guarantee that no one will access your information.
Part of this, clearly, is related to hiring an IT professional since they can be the ones to handle it. However, there are still things that you can do yourself if you want to get started and protect your data.
You can use backups, for example, cold storage backup, to keep all your information in a file in case you lose it in an attack.
At the same time, relying on artificial intelligence to handle some issues is a fantastic idea as well. It allows you to scan updates and prevent potential problems.
Lastly, you can monitor real-time threats. Thus, you can act as soon as you see someone trying to access your sensitive information.
Brace Yourself for an Attack
It might sound harsh, but you can’t be naive. As was mentioned before, if the American Dental Association suffered from a ransomware attack, so can your dentistry. If you’re the unlucky victim the next time some hackers try to access someone else’s information, what will you do?
You need to prepare as soon as possible. The process starts on paper because you need to develop an effective disaster response plan. There, you will describe what everyone needs to do if there is a data breach, and the plan should also include the following:
- How to isolate threats
- Steps to handle ransom negotiation (when applicable)
- What to do if you need to notify customers of what occurred
- Data recovery strategies
- Paths to legal assistance (if possible)
- Information to comply with regulatory guidelines, which pertains to HPPA breach notifications
All dentists across the United States currently face these threats. Thus, to guarantee business continuity, you have to make sure you’re prepared in case anything happens.
There is no way to tell if you’ll be the target of a ransomware attack. In a way, it’s like playing Russian Roulette – hackers randomly try to find a weak link and extract information from there.
Consequently, the only way to avoid issues and protect your data integrity is to develop plans that embrace the possible consequences. No one wants to be the victim of these attacks, but if you start acting now as though you were, the chances of you suffering negative outcomes will immensely decrease.
As a dentist, you want to ensure the long-term stability and integrity of your practice. Now that you’re aware of some tips to implement, you should start preparing your business and protect your information. There is no time to lose; the more vigilant you are, the better – this way, you’ll know what to do in case the worst happens.