Dentist offices nationwide hit with REvil ransomware attacks

Dental practices across the country found themselves locked out of their patient files after a hacker group infected a pair of software providers with REvil, or Sodinokibi, ransomware.

The two companies, The Digital Dental Record and PerCSoft, which created DDS safe to provide medical records retention and backup services to dental offices, ponied up the ransom for a decryptor that they have passed on to the practices affected, according to a report in ZDNet.

REvil, or Sodinokibi, which Fidelis Security Threat Research Team Senior Analyst Aamil Karimi wrote is “becoming increasingly popular” with a 12.5 percent ransomware market share and shows similarities to GandCrab, is the same ransomware used in recent attacks on 22 local and county government agencies in Texas.

“We've seen escalating ransomware attacks targeting healthcare organizations for a few years, but now dental offices need to worry about sensitive patient data being exposed,” said Kowsik Guruswamy, CTO at Menlo Security.

“The bottom line here is that ransomware attacks continue to evade existing security products,” whose paradigm to “allow the good and block the bad” is outdated.

The latest attacks raise what some see as long-ignored privacy issues for dental practices. “Dental offices that file claims, verify eligibility, or make digital treatment authorizations are operating under the HIPAA regulation and must ensure they have appropriate security and privacy practices in place,”said Tom Garrubba, vice president and CISO, Shared Assessments. “There is a perception that dental practices have been flying under the OCR’s radar (the Office of Civil Rights investigates HIPAA violations) for years and this announcement may bring this under renewed scrutiny.”

Garrubba noted that “as more private dental practitioners migrate to larger managed organizations, emphasis on adequate enterprise-wide security and privacy practices should be top-of-mind for their senior leadership.”  

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