On August 30, the media reported that ransomware attacks had hit some 400 dental practices across the United States, crippling their ability to function. As of that date, roughly 100 practices were back in business… because they paid the ransom.
Ransomware installs a virus that locks up a computer and encrypts certain files on that computer. When the business pays the ransom, it receives a decryption “key” which allows access to their files again.
Affected dentists report that they weren’t able to even take digital X-rays, much less access patient records or financial documents.
This is the kind of threat that formerly targeted major corporations, but now the bad actors are moving on to smaller businesses that aren’t as robustly defended.
While this is the first reported instance of widespread targeting of dentists, it won’t be the last. The ransom amount wasn’t mentioned, but arguably it could be in the $50,000 range. That’s an amount that most successful small businesses could pay. It might have been far higher, though.
Even at the lower figure, those hackers made at least $5 million; the final number will likely be much higher as dental practices continue to pay the ransom. That kind of payday is too tempting for the bad guys to pass up.
And it might be your practice next time, or the time after that.
SmartBox Can Help
Let’s be clear: dental practice cybersecurity is not something that SmartBox provides for our doctors. We provide security against other threats, and in the process we free up practice bandwidth to more effectively safeguard their patients and their businesses.
Here’s how that works.
SmartBox takes the entire burden of practice growth efforts off dental practices. We provide the complete spectrum of services and products that dentists need to achieve the practice growth they want. Doctors are freed to do the dentistry and make money.
For our dentists, competitive threats become irrelevant. We keep your schedule filled with the kind of patients you want to treat, the kind of patients you consider ideal for your practice, and that add handsomely to your bottom line.
It’s not just the dentists who benefit, however. Practice managers are also freed to devote more of their time to cybersecurity while still tending to supply issues, compliance, finances, internal issues, and the thousand-and-one other things it takes to keep a practice functioning.
As Dr. Kevin McMahon of Kentucky noted, “I’m very happy with SmartBox. It actually puts my marketing on autopilot. That makes it a lot easier for me. It’s something I don’t have to worry about. I’m the owner of the practice here, so I’m managing a bunch of people. If I can take something off my plate like that, that I know is quality, is going to work, that I’m proud of, that makes a big difference for me, I can put that to the side and do other things I’ve got to do.”
Maybe You’ll Be Lucky
Your practice may never be exposed to ransomware. And maybe corporate dental practices won’t invade your market and steal your patients. And maybe insurance companies will stop cost-shifting the burden of payment to patients. All of those could happen, but smart dentists won’t rely on any of them.
If you’re interested in seeing the outstanding results that SmartBox can achieve for your practices, and enjoy the freedom to actually do the dentistry – and prepare against external threats like ransomware – schedule a Practice Growth Call.