Cyberthreats that can kill your dental practice

Cyberthreats that can kill your dental practice

Cyberattacks on the healthcare sector are rising, and you should not ignore the possibility that hackers will target your dental clinic next. While most dental clinics gather and store their patient's private information, many of them lack the resources to implement and maintain proper cybersecurity policies and protocols, making them prime targets for cybercriminals.

In fact, in the last five years, over 93% of healthcare organizations have been hit by a cyberattack. Within the same time frame, 50% of healthcare companies have experienced at least five incidents of cyberattacks.

Why do hackers target dental clinics?

Hackers prefer to target small businesses such as dental clinics because of the latter’s lack of cybersecurity defenses and the kind of information they store. Protected health information (PHI) is data that includes a patient's personal and private information such as insurance information, home address, medical history, test results, and more. Hackers can sell PHI on the dark web, or use it to commit fraud and extortion.

You should never dismiss the possibility of a cyberattack on your dental clinic. If a hacker is able to steal your patients’ information, you will have to explain the breach to your patients and to authorities. This will damage your reputation, making it difficult for you to retain current clients and attract new ones. What's more, you will have to pay steep fines and penalties that can hurt your finances, or worse, force you to close your clinic for good.

What are common cyberthreats to dental clinics?

Watch out for the following cyberthreats that can put your dental office out of business:

This is where hackers attempt to steal someone's personal information using deceptive emails and links. According to the 2020 State of the Phish report, 65% of businesses in the United States experienced a phishing attack, which is more than the 55% global average.

The Healthcare Information and Management System Society (HIMSS) said that phishing attacks against healthcare organizations remain a significant threat. The 2019 HIMSS Cybersecurity Survey showed that 59% of data breaches on healthcare organizations was caused by phishing emails.

Business email compromise (BEC)
Business email compromise or email fraud is the biggest cyberthreat to your dental practice next to phishing. Through BEC, hackers target companies that conduct wire transfers regularly. They take over the corporate email accounts of high-level employees or executives through phishing attacks or keyloggers.

Cybercriminals use the stolen email accounts to initiate a wire transfer to a bank account they control. There are two ways they can do this:

  • CEO fraud – A hacker poses as a dentist or a high-level employee and sends out emails to patients or partners to request for payment.
  • Invoice payment requests – This type of BEC attack uses invoices appearing to come from one of your suppliers requesting for payment via wire transfer.

Ransomware is malware that encrypts your files and locks your computer until a ransom is paid. Without access to the files and applications you need, your dental clinic won't be able to provide quality service to your patients.

Hackers target dental clinics and other healthcare organizations because they're more likely to pay the ransom rather than deal with the downtime and disruption. Unfortunately, there were instances where hackers never provided a decryption key even after the ransom was paid.

Protect your dental practice from cyberthreats

Don't give hackers the opportunity to steal your patients' PHI and compromise your dental clinic. Partnering with a trusted managed IT services provider like Pact-One is the first step in enhancing your cybersecurity defenses.

Our cybersecurity service will provide your clinic with multiple layers of defense to ensure your patients' data are safe. If you want to learn more about our cybersecurity services, download our free eBook “3 Essential Types of Cybersecurity Your Practice Must Have” today.

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