Dentist has data held for ransom – A shocking story you won’t believe

Kiltesh Patel
January 29, 2015 | 2 min read

 In an article recently published by the California Dental Association they tell the shocking story of a California Dentist who gets a call from her IT guy telling her that her office server has been hacked and all her patient data has been locked. The only way to get it back is to pay a ransom to the hackers! This new crime uses what is now being called “ransomware”. The hackers break into your system and lock all your important files. Your data and your practice is held hostage until you pay a ransom. Some versions of this story are even more dramatic where the hackers only give you 72 hours to pay or all your data will be erased. The typical ransom can be up to $500. Authorities don’t seem to have any power to you help recover your data. The only advice given is to not pay the ransom.  But then what?!

More bad news- Anyone who has patient data or x-rays stored on an office server is at risk. The dentist in the story above had two different antivirus software programs. The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team and Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre recommend the following:

  • Perform regular backups and store them on a separate device offline
  • Have current antivirus software
  • Make sure you have the latest versions of your software programs
  • Don’t open unsolicited web links
  • Use caution when opening attachments
  • Report any incidences of cyber-crime to the FBI


The good news- Cloud based dental software has a few advantages over traditional software. Firstly it is always up to date and you often do not need to pay for upgrades or run the risk of continuing to use an outdated version of your software to save money. Also cloud based software holds your data remotely. If you were to get hacked by one of these ransomware viruses they would search your system and not see any data! All your protected data is secure and not visible to these cyber criminals. To learn more about cloud software and how it can help protect your practice, contact us for cloud based dental software solution.

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