Disclaimer: This blog article was written by an AdvancedMD partner. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of AdvancedMD.
Cybersecurity is getting very scary. The number of Cyber Breaches and Ransomware attacks in 2021 were the largest ever. 2022 is shaping up to be even more dangerous than 2021. In addition to the general trend towards more bad actors participating in cybercrime, Russia has increased their cyber attacks in response to the economic sanctions imposed by the US and allies.
The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has implemented Shields Up in response to this specific threat, and on the Shields Up website it states, “Every organization—large and small—must be prepared to respond to disruptive cyber incidents.”
Every organization is at risk of a cyberattack, and the American Dental Association was hit with an attack many cybersecurity experts believe the attack was by an organization known as BLACK BASTA. A statement by the ADA indicated that they experienced a disruption to certain services. The ADA has not acknowledged the nature or source of the incident, but Black Basta has posted that they have approximately 2.8 GB of ADA data including W-2 forms, spreadsheets, and personal information on ADA members. The ADA also provides support services to many state Dental Societies and the breach has impacted those states as well as the ADA.
Other dental organizations that have recently experienced cyber incidents include The Professional Dental Alliance (PDA) which owns dental practices in 15 states. That breach involved over 170,000 individuals. The breach at PDA happened at one of the vendors that PDA shared data with North American Dental Management. In this case even though PDA’s computer systems were not breached and the systems that were compromised were another company, since the information breached was PDA patients, it was PDA who was responsible for the breach.
The increased threats not only can impact your medical practice, but they also can impact any organization that you share your data with. This can include:
- Electronic Medical Records
- Electronic Billing Systems
- Revenue Cycle Management Systems
- And any other computerized system where YOUR PATIENT data may be stored
There are steps you can take to better protect your data, and there are steps the businesses you share information with can take to better protect your data. The bottom line is no matter where the data is located, it is your data and ultimately your responsibility. Nothing is perfect, but under the HIPAA regulations you are required to do everything that is reasonable to protect your data. That includes:
- Completing a HIPAA Security Risk Assessment
- Implementing all Security updates that are reasonable for your practice
- Having Business Associate Agreements with all vendors that you share data with
- Providing regular security training for your staff.
One of methods that bad actors can compromise your systems is through passwords that are not secure. To assist you in improving your security TLD Systems will begin a FREE webinar series on how to improve your security. The first webinar will be on Wednesday, July 6 at 8pm Eastern (7pm Central, 5pm Pacific). Register for this FREE webinar.