Dental Cyber Security

In March 2022, the federal Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency and the FBI issued alerts warning of an increase in ransomware attacks, including malicious software that can compromise practice systems and prevent access to schedules, billing, or patient records.

Cybersecurity experts are warning the private sector of an uptick in cyberattacks as the U.S. and other countries to impose sanctions and other penalties on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

The federal Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency and the FBI have issued a series of alerts recently warning of an increase in ransomware attacks, including through malicious software that can compromise practice systems and prevent access to schedules, billing, or patient records.

Dental practices and other health care entities are always at risk, but practices should be on heightened alert now for these threats and consider taking the following steps to help prevent them:

  • Use antivirus and threat detection software;
  • Require complex passwords;
  • Require multifactor authentication to access electronic health records;
  • Train staff on cybersecurity best practices.

Train your staff to identify email and other phishing attempts

Oftentimes, cyberattacks are the result of successful phishing attempts. Phishing is an attempt to steal personal information or break into online accounts using deceptive emails, messages, ads or sites that look similar to sites you already use.

Email is the most common attack vector, so staff should be trained on how to identify potential phishing attempts. Some common indicators are (1) emails that ask for sensitive information, such as W-2s, Social Security numbers and passwords, (2) emails that don’t address the recipient by name or (3) emails that have multiple spelling and grammatical errors.

Always hover over the sender’s name to confirm the domain, and never open attachments or click links in suspicious emails. If the email appears to be from someone else in the practice who is asking for sensitive information, always verify in person that the email is legitimate or from a known phone number (not a number in the email). 

Cybersecurity Defined


Cybersecurity is a part of the IT security umbrella, along with its counterparts, physical security and information security.


CompTIA’s Chief Technology Evangelist, James Stanger says it best when he defines cybersecurity as “focusing on protecting electronic assets – including internet, WAN and LAN resources – used to store and transmit that information.”


The fully realized definition should include an evolving set of cybersecurity tools designed to protect confidential data from unauthorized access. To do so, it’s necessary to consider how people, processes and technology all play equally important roles in keeping information safe.

One of the many advantages to living in a world where every device is connected is convenience. It’s incredibly easy to conduct work, manage your social calendar, shop and make appointments from your smartphone or device. That’s why it’s become second nature to many of us. But, of course, the convenience of connected data also means threats from bad actors can do a lot of damage. Cybersecurity initiatives are essential to protecting our data and thus, our way of life.

Types of Cybersecurity


Critical infrastructure security


Application security


Network security


Cloud security


Internet of Things (IoT) security

To cover all of its bases, an organization should develop a comprehensive plan that includes not only these five types of cybersecurity, but also the three components that play active roles in a cybersecurity posture: people, processes and technology.

Types of Cybersecurity Threats

Phishing Attacks
Social Engineering

Malware is software that has been created to intentionally cause damage. Commonly known as a virus (among other things), malware can cause harm simply by opening the wrong attachment or clicking on the wrong link.

Ransomware is actually a type of malware. The difference here is that ransomware infects a network or steals confidential data and then demands a ransom (typically currency of some sort) in exchange for access to your systems.

Phishing is just like it sounds. Hackers throw a line out there hoping that you’ll bite, and when you do, they steal sensitive information like passwords, credit card numbers and more. Phishing attacks usually come in the form of emails that look legitimate and encourage you to reply.

Social engineering involves malicious human interaction. This is a case of people outright lying and manipulating others to divulge personal information. Often, these people obtain information from social media profiles and posts.



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