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    9 things you need to know about ransomeware

    These invasive viruses can wreak havoc on a dental practice, but there are ways to avoid them.

    It’s impossible to read the news online and not hear about a new class of computer viruses called ransomware. These are a very nasty type of virus that can devastate a practice.

    The following is a short FAQ about these viruses and why you need to worry.

    What is ransomware?

    Ransomware, or cryptoviruses, are a type of computer virus that infect your computers and lock your critical data files. Typically, you know that you are infected because when you try to open a file, a screen will pop up and inform you that your files are locked and that if you are willing to pay a “ransom,” the perpetrators will provide you with a key to unlock your files. The files are encrypted with a very high level of encryption.

    Related reading: 4 things you need to know about the dangers of ransomware

    How do I get infected?

    Opening an email attachment from an unknown source has always been the main method of infection, but there are more and more cases of people getting viruses just by visiting infected websites or other means.

    Can I unlock the files myself?

    Basically… no. There are some older types of cryptoviruses that have been broken, but most cannot be unlocked without the key. Trying to brute force the password would take over one billion years, even with a supercomputer!

    Related reading: How to protect your dental EHRs from cyber attacks

    If I pay the ransom with a credit card, can’t I just dispute the charge afterward?

    I wish it were that easy. Almost all ransomware requires payment in an electronic currency called Bitcoin. This currency is untraceable back to the recipient, which is why it’s so popular.

    How much will I need to pay?

    I’ve seen ransoms from as little as $300 to high as $2100. Your mileage may vary.

     

    Continue to page two to learn what happens if you refuse to pay the ransom...

     

    Dr. Lorne Lavine
    Dr. Lorne Lavine, founder and president of Dental Technology Consultants, has more than 30 years invested in the dental and dental ...

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