Is Your Dental Practice a Hacker’s Dream?

August 23, 2023
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Anne Genge

Anne is a multi-certified award-winning dental cybersecurity expert in Canada

You may be wondering, “Why would a hacker target my dental practice? We only deal with smiles!” This is a common misconception in the industry.

The truth is, your dental practice is a prime target for hackers, and here’s why.

Why Dentistry is a Target

Like any healthcare sector, the dental industry is rich with valuable personal and financial data. Your patients’ files contain sensitive information such as names, addresses, health histories, social insurance numbers, and payment information.

Cybercriminals can use this data for identity theft, insurance fraud, or to sell it on the dark web.

Additionally, due to limited budgets and a lack of qualified security professionals, dental practices often have less stringent cybersecurity measures compared to larger healthcare organizations. This makes them an easier target.

Lastly, your practice likely uses interconnected devices and systems – think about digital radiography systems, patient management software, online booking systems, dependence on email communication, etc. All these systems increase the potential entry points for a hacker.

Basic cybersecurity awareness training can improve

security posture by up to 70%.— Tessian Research 2021

What Will Get You In Trouble

There are several key factors that can make your dental practice a goldmine for cybercriminals.

  1. Outdated Software: Not regularly updating your software leaves you vulnerable to attacks. Updates often include patches for security loopholes that hackers can exploit.
  2. Poor Password Management: Using weak passwords or reusing the same password across different accounts is like leaving your front door wide open.
  3. Phishing Attacks: Hackers often trick staff into clicking on malicious links or attachments, either through email or text messages. Once clicked, these can install malware on your system or steal login credentials.
  4. Insufficient Staff Training: Without proper cybersecurity training, your team may not be aware of safe online practices, making it easier for hackers to infiltrate your system.

What You Can Do About It

The good news is that with a little effort, you can significantly reduce the risk of a cybersecurity breach at your practice. Here are some simple steps you can take:

  1. Regular Software Updates: Keep all your systems, applications, and devices updated. Make this a regular part of your office protocol.
  2. Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication: Use strong, unique passwords for each account and enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. Consider using a password manager to simplify this process.
  3. Backup Regularly: Ensure you regularly backup patient data and important files. This way, in case of a ransomware attack, you can restore your system without paying a ransom.
  4. Invest in Security Awareness Training: Perhaps the most crucial step you can take is investing in security awareness training for your entire team. Your staff are the first line of defense against cyber attacks. By training them on best practices and how to spot potential threats, you can greatly reduce your risk of a breach.

Remember, cybersecurity isn’t a one-time deal, but an ongoing process. It’s hard, no doubt. But I’m here to tell you that it’s also manageable and, in the end, well worth the effort.

Let’s tackle this together. With over 20 years of experience, I’ve seen it all, helped teams navigate through the complexities, and made the journey a little easier. We can make your dental practice a nightmare for hackers, not a dream!

Let’s turn those frowns (of worry) upside down into smiles of confidence, knowing your dental practice is fortified against the cyber threats of today and tomorrow.

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Cybersecurity Essentials for Dental Teams

Cybersecurity awareness training that provides dental professionals with the skills needed to prevent breaches, ransomware, and data theft at work (and at home). Get immediate access and complete training in less than 40 minutes.
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