How Secure is Your Dental Practice Website Against a Cyber Attack?
Pay attention to the news and you can’t help but hear about another massive data breach or successful cyber attack. While most hacks don’t result in gas shortages that threaten to undermine the country’s infrastructure, cyber attacks cause significant financial damage to every industry in the world.
In 2019 alone, the healthcare industry lost an estimated $25 billion to ransomware attacks, and the cost of data breaches has steadily increased as cyber criminals continue to refine their ability to compromise computer systems. Every minute, $2.9 million is lost as a result of cybercrime. By 2025, industry experts predict that cybercrime will cost the world over $10 trillion dollars annually.
When most businesses experience theft, the loss of money or inventory becomes fairly obvious rather quickly. Yet, with cyber attacks, it can take months before a business even knows that it’s been robbed. In 2020, the average time it took to recognize and contain a data breach was an incredible 280 days. That’s the better part of nine months hackers have the opportunity to examine your files, collect data on customers, and threaten to permanently undermine the credibility of your business before you even realize a threat has materialized.
If you are an independent dental office, it’s easy to think your website won’t catch the attention of hackers looking to score a major payday. However, cyber attacks against small businesses continue to increase every year. Industry experts estimate that cyber attacks will cost small businesses $5 trillion dollars by 2025.
For cyber criminals, it’s not that small and medium business websites are too insignificant to find but rather too hard to ignore. Major corporations spend tens of millions of dollars a year on cybersecurity. This makes it far harder for criminals to hack their systems, especially when compared to smaller businesses that don’t possess the same level of resources.
Small businesses may have less data for hackers to steal, but that doesn’t make the data less valuable. Customer credit card and bank account numbers have tangible financial value, but so does a trove of other personal data. Health records, dates of birth, social security numbers, email addresses, phone numbers – all of this data has value and can be weaponized to cause serious financial damage to a business’ customer base.
For smaller healthcare practices that must follow HIPAA compliance standards for patient confidentiality, data breaches can lead to bankruptcy. Depending on the level of noncompliance a provider is viewed as having been negligent, a practice could be fined up to $50,000 per record breach.
As more businesses embrace remote working, the threat computer systems face continues to grow each time an employee logs on from a non-secure location. These portals into your website’s systems provide hackers the opportunity to attack your business in a variety of different ways.
Denial of Service Attacks
Perhaps the easiest and most effective way of attacking a website, a denial of service attack doesn’t steal sensitive data but can still bring a business to its knees.
In a denial of service attack, computer programs commonly referred to as bots send repeated requests to access a website. Most sites have the ability to handle thousands of simultaneous requests for access. However, when that number becomes tens of thousands, the system crashes under the burden. Once this occurs, no one can visit the site because the system is unable to respond to any request for access.
Obviously, e-commerce sites need to be up and running in order to make a sale. Denial of service attacks can effectively shut a business down by closing its website off to the public.
This isn’t just a problem for e-commerce websites, but for any business that needs its website to answer patient questions, schedule appointments, or even to provide something as simple as a menu and directions.
Short for malicious hardware, malware breaches information systems by exposing network vulnerabilities. Frequently, this occurs when a user clicks on a link that attaches and installs harmful software on a site.
Once in place, malware can complete a variety of different tasks depending on its programming. The software may secretly copy and transmit private data that exposes customers’ personal and financial information. The software may shut off parts of the network, or make the entire system inoperable.
The recent attack on Colonial Pipeline is an example of just how devastating a malware attack can be on a business. By gaining control and locking a business out of their own systems, hackers can leave little choice but to pay whatever ransom they demand.
Phishing attacks often involve the use of fraudulent emails that make a user assume they’re communicating with a trusted source when in reality they’re providing a hacker with the tools needed to infiltrate a computer system. Phishing rank as the leading cause of cyber attacks globally.
Do More Dental can Help Keep Your Website Secure
Considering the myriad of ways that hackers can attack a website, businesses of every size need to make website security a top priority. Fortunately, you can fight back against hackers to make your website more secure and harder to infiltrate.
When we build and maintain a website for our clients, the Do More Dental team works behind the scenes to help to prevent cyber attacks in ways that our clients don’t necessarily even notice.
Using tools like Wordfence and Cloudflare, we protect our client’s website from outside attacks. Thanks to the security tools we use, Do More Dental helps to block thousands of denial of service attacks on our client’s websites every month. Wordfence alone helps to block over 13 million denial of services attacks on WordPress websites each day on the internet, and over 350 million every month.
In addition to tools like Wordfence, we also make a backup copy of our clients’ websites every 24 hours, giving us the ability to reset a site in case it becomes compromised or corrupted by malware. Permissions are put in place to prevent server requests from foreign countries known for cyber attacks so these questionable users can’t access our clients’ websites. When patients or clients submit sensitive information through online fillable forms, such as health or banking information, that data is sent securely through email and not stored on the website where a hacker can gain access to it.
By using these and other best practices, Do More Dental helps to significantly lower our client’s risk for experiencing a cyber attack. As a result, our client websites remain up and actively online 98 percent of the time. That’s the kind of dependability every business needs to successfully compete in today’s digital age.
Don’t let cyber attacks destroy your business and its credibility. Click here if you want to know more about what Do More Dental can do to help better protect your website and online infrastructure.