Hundreds of Dentists Offices Hit with Ransomware

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This past Monday, around 400 dental offices came to work to find that their data had been encrypted with ransomware.

The outbreak occurred when Percsoft and the Digital Dental Record software companies were attacked by hackers. These companies offered a product that they jointly developed to dental offices. Once the hackers had gained entry, they used a strain of the Sodinokibi ransomware and pushed it out to all of the practices.

This is the third occurrence of a software service provider being hacked this year and then have its customers, in turn, infected.

Digital Dental Record and Percsoft immediately contacted the FBI for help. However, by the time the infection had occurred, there was nothing that could be done. It appears that the backup systems the companies used weren’t sufficient to recover from the attack.

You can read more about this ransomware attack here on CNN.

The ransom was paid to aid in restoring the data

Digital Dental Record and Percsoft opted to pay the ransom that the hackers demanded. The amount paid is unknown. Once the companies received the decryption tool provided by the hackers, they shared it the infected practices so that they could begin decrypting their own data.

At the time of writing, only 100 of the 400 affected practices were up and running. And of the 100, most were only partially operational.

One of the biggest concerns with paying the ransoms demanded by hackers is that it encourages them to continue attacking other sites. These attacks are a low-risk scenario for attackers as most live overseas and would never be brought to justice. In addition, the method of payment used, bitcoin, makes tracking down the attackers very difficult.

This is of no consolation to the practices affected by the attack. They lose money each day their operations are down and it is usually more cost-effective to pay a ransom than not.

Ransomware can shut down your practice

For dental practices, x-rays are critical for patient care. When computers are down, dentists aren’t able to access charts to view x-rays. When new patients arrive, the practices aren’t able to take new x-rays. It makes seeing patients nearly impossible.

Recently, a practice in Minnesota was forced to close down after a ransomware attack. They didn’t have any backups that could be used and the physician owners opted to close rather than trying to recover. This left all of their patients scrambling to find new doctors without their medical histories.

Ransomware is a real threat to patient care. If you would like to know more about how to protect yourself from these types of attacks, you can read our write up here.