Monday, December 9, 2019

Ransomware at Colorado IT Provider Affects 100+ Dental Offices


This is another attack that has affected multiple offices in multiple states.  It seems that Complete Technology Solutions (CTS) a company based out of Englewood, CO was attacked and the hackers used this initial penetration to then infect client offices.

Many IT providers use remote access software to allow their support people to log into a dental office computer & fix problems when they arise.  While some companies set things up so that the dental office has to be at the computer and actually “allow” remote use by clicking “OK”, other companies setup remote control without a user’s permission simply because it is easier, faster, and can be done even when no one is in front of the computer needing to be fixed.

In this case however, since all of the client offices were setup to allow CTS log in without someone actually being at the computer, once hackers gained control inside of the CTS system, they then had access to every client computer.  This allowed the hackers to spread ransomware from CTS to all these client computers.  Basically once hackers had control inside of CTS, they *also* had control inside of every one of their clients computers as well.

Ransomware was installed and this brought over 100 client dental offices crashing down.  Since most of these clients were using CTS as their cloud backup solution as well, their backups were also encrypted and locked.  This attack demonstrates why backups should never all be held in one place.

I’m sure that many of these practices went home each night thinking their office was safe and that even if disaster struck, their data was backed up.  In this case the data *was* backed up but when your backups are also encrypted they are useless.

For years now I’ve been preaching that your backup protocol should be a “backup chain” and by that I mean it needs to have as many links as possible.  Having only ONE backup is not enough.  I would highly recommend at least two… and perhaps even more.  The concept of cloud storage and backups has given many people a false sense of security.  When you consider how important data is to your business ( and it IS the heart of your business) backing up should be one of the most important, if not THE most important part of your business plan.  If you only want to do cloud backup, then make sure you have 2 independent companies providing that service.  Backups are no good if you cannot retrieve them.

Over 500 hundred practices have been taken offline by ransomware since late August.  Do not think this cannot happen to you.  For all the details, checkout this article by security expert Brian Krebs.  

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