Active Cybersecurity Alert for Dental Practices

Active Cybersecurity Alert for Dental Practices

Cybersecurity has surged to the forefront of concerns for businesses across all sectors. The dental industry, with its wealth of confidential patient information and reliance on electronic records, is not immune.

Recent advisories from the American Dental Association (ADA), underscored by an FBI warning, have highlighted the increasing risk of cyber threats to dental practices. This blog post aims to dissect the nature of these threats and outline robust strategies to strengthen your dental practice against digital predations.

Credible Cybersecurity Threats to Dental Practices

The digital era has transformed the way dental practices operate, but this reliance on technology also opens vulnerabilities that cybercriminals are all too eager to exploit. On May 7, 2024, the American Dental Association (ADA) released information warning dental practices of credible cybersecurity threats.

The ADA states in the release, “The American Dental Association (ADA) urges all dental practices to remain vigilant after it was contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with information regarding a credible threat to the practices of oral and maxillofacial surgeons.”

Types of Threats

The threat landscape is continually growing; therefore, dental practices must beware of the following types of cyber threats:

  • Social Engineering Scams: Often in the form of phishing/spear phishing (email), SMSishing (text, IM, or DM), and vishing (phone calls and voicemail). These scams attempt to steal sensitive information like login credentials or personal data. 
  • Ransomware Attacks: This type of malware encrypts the practice’s data, with the attacker demanding a ransom for its release. Dental practices are prime targets due to the critical nature of the data held. 
  • Data Breaches: Unauthorized access to a practice’s network can lead to the theft of confidential patient information, causing significant legal and reputational damage. 

The impact of these attacks can be devastating, leading to operational disruptions, financial loss, and erosion of patient trust.

The ADA release shares an example provided by the FBI in which the threat actor poses as a new patient (or says they want to become a patient) to obtain new patient forms online. Once the forms are received, the actor will then contact the practice and report issues with submitting the forms online and ask if they can scan the forms and email them instead (emailing the “forms” as an attachment). When the attachment is opened by the end user, malware is deployed.

Protecting Your Dental Practice from Cyberthreats

The good news is there are effective steps you can take to mitigate the risk of cyberattacks on your dental practice. Here’s how:

Educating Your Staff

Human error often serves as the weakest link in a practice’s cybersecurity defenses. Regular training sessions can help staff recognize and respond appropriately to potential cyber threats, such as phishing emails and suspicious links.

In the scenario provided above, it's best to have the patient or prospective patient come into the office (15-30 minutes before their appointment) and fill out the forms in person. While this may be time consuming, it mitigates the risk of a breach in which more than one patient could be effected.

Cybersecurity Training Resources

Passwords and Multifactor Authentication (MFA or 2FA)

Encourage the use of complex passwords, incorporate a password manager, and implement multifactor authentication (MFA) wherever possible. MFA adds an additional layer of security by requiring users to provide two or more verification factors to gain access to a resource, significantly reducing the risk of unauthorized access.

Check out our Ultimate Password Guide and Enabling Multifactor Authentication Guide for helpful tips.

Update Business Hardware and Software

Keep all practice hardware and software up to date. Cybercriminals frequently exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain access to networks. Regular updates and patches are vital to closing these security gaps.

Check out our guide on Updating Business Software for additional information.

Implement Additional Cybersecurity Protection

Investing in advanced cybersecurity measures can provide comprehensive protection against a wide range of threats. Additional cybersecurity protection can include:

  • Managed Detection & Response: MDR (with cloud response) offers 24/7 monitoring and response to threats, ensuring that any breach can be quickly contained and remediated.
  • Device encryption: Encrypting devices that store sensitive information helps protect the data, even if the device itself is lost or stolen.
  • Access management: Implementing role-based access controls and adopting a zero-trust security framework ensures that staff can only access the information necessary for their roles, minimizing the risk of internal breaches.
  • Email security: Solutions that scan incoming emails for threats can help block phishing attempts before they reach your staff.


In an age where cyber threats are a genuine concern for dental practices, proactively adopting a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy is essential. By educating your team, enforcing security policies, keeping systems updated, and implementing advanced security measures, you can safeguard your practice from digital dangers. Protecting your practice means more than just securing your network; it’s about ensuring the ongoing trust and safety of your patients. Remember, in cybersecurity, prevention is always better than cure.

Incorporating these strategies into your dental practice’s routine can protect it from the cyber threats that have become all too common. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and ensure your practice remains a safe haven for both patient data and care. Cyber threats in dentistry are evolving, but by taking these proactive steps, your practice can stay several moves ahead in the cybersecurity game.

Dental IT. Remove the Burden. Embrace the Use.

Quality patient care – it's ultimately why you became a dental professional. But, some business operations can get in the way (such as pesky computer issues or lack of IT support). That’s where Pact-One Solutions can help! Our passion lies in supplying reliable, responsive dental IT support and security that practices can count on.

Whether you’re looking for dental IT services for your startup or searching for more responsive dental IT support – our team of dental IT specialists have you covered. With team members throughout the United States, we offer nationwide support to dental practices of all sizes. Our wide range of dental IT services ensure your data is secure, accessible, and protected.

Don't let technology challenges hinder your ability to deliver exceptional dental care. Contact us at or 866-722-8663 to join 350+ dental practices thriving with the support of a dedicated dental IT team.


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