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1 Open an attachment and bring down your network? Many people think this will never happen to them, but virus attacks can come from unlikely sources and can strike when you least expect it. They can wreak havoc on your internal computers and servers and potentially compromise your patients protected health information (PHI). 1 ANTI-VIRUS ebook

2 What is your anti-virus plan? As a business owner and leader, it s your responsibility to make sure you have up-to-date protection in place to safeguard your computer system and files. Leaving yourself open for virus infections and potential data losses can end up being very costly in both dollars and lost productivity. Take the quiz, you might be surprised by some of these facts. True or false: It s safe for my employees to access social media sites (such as Facebook and Pinterest) from network computers between patients. False: Accessing social media sites from work computers can introduce viruses to your system. These sites often allow links to, and posting of content from, other unmanaged websites. Accessing this content can be a path for malware to be introduced to your computers. So, don t assume social media websites are protecting your computers. True or false: Most computer viruses are caused by hackers infiltrating your system and planting a virus. False: Most virus problems found on dental office computers are due to the unintentional misuse by staff, not hackers or software. Computer users clicking on links or opening attachments from an unknown sender are the most common ways to introduce malware to a computer. Also, installing coupon, weather and e-shopping monitors are risky actions. These add-on browser features are not carefully managed or updated and thus are pathways for malware (such as viruses) to infect your computer when you re browsing the Internet. True or false: I can t get a virus on my computer because I have anti-virus software. False: Anti-virus software limits the risk of infection, but it s not a guarantee it only works on known viruses that it can detect. Responsible use of business networks in conjunction with anti-virus software is your best bet to prevent viruses from infiltrating your system. True or false: Cleaning my infected computers is a simple process that my staff can complete. False: Removing malware from a computer requires the assistance of a technical expert. Keep in mind that malware is designed to wreak havoc on computers and intrude on data files and operating system configurations in ways the average computer user cannot fix. In many instances the hard drive will need re-imaging to ensure the malware is completely wiped out. Re-imaging is the process of reformatting a hard drive by removing all data to restore the operating system to its original settings. Once the re-image is complete your software applications must be reinstalled and the associated data, if not lost or corrupted, must be reloaded. This is no simple task even if you have kept track of all applications installed on your computers and can quickly locate the installation files, data backups and installation keys. The common types of software applications installed on a dental office computer include accounting, time clock, word processing, imaging, credit card processing, and practice management. Printer and scanners will also need reinstallation. Your staff will have to work with multiple vendors to restore your business operations. 2 ANTI-VIRUS ebook

3 True or false?: As long as I don t open any attachments in suspicious s or click on any links, I won t get a virus. False: There are many other ways for viruses to access your computer just visiting certain websites will open the door. Installing tool bars, opening attachments, and accessing non-business-related websites can all expose your practice to viruses. True or false?: There is nothing I can do to protect my practice from virus attacks. False: There are six easy steps you can incorporate into your practice policy to help protect your practice from viruses. What exactly is a virus, and how is it introduced? Malware wears many different disguises Malware short for malicious software refers to any software that s used to disrupt a computer s operation or gather sensitive information. Here are some common types of malware: Virus A program that replicates by inserting copies of itself into other computer programs, data files or your computer s hard drive. Simply put, a computer virus is a malware software program that s able to replicate itself and spread from one computer to another. A virus can infect system files, programs or documents. It can slow down your computers, damage the content of files, misplace data or disrupt your system s normal operations. And it can keep spreading throughout your network. Here are some of the most common ways a virus can be introduced into your system: Accessing the Internet for personal use via the network. Installing unapproved applications on network computers. Changing anti-virus configuration without consulting your technician. Opening from unknown sources and downloading questionable attachments. Spyware Trojan Worm A program that tracks and stores an Internet user s movement on the Web and generates pop-up ads. Seemingly useful or legitimate software that will do damage once installed. A program that replicates itself so it can spread to other computers. It does not need to attach itself to existing programs and often uses a computer network to spread. 3 ANTI-VIRUS ebook

4 How much could it cost your practice if you re hit by a virus attack? More and more businesses, including dental and medical practices, are falling prey to malware attacks, hacking and data breaches. A recent study found that the average annual cost of cybercrime among 60 representative U.S. companies was almost $12 million per company an increase of 26 percent from 2012 to The companies experienced an average of two successful attacks each week.* Google research suggested that one in 10 websites was infected with drive-by malware (meaning you only need to visit the site to pick up the virus). Unfortunately, these cyber-threats are spreading with alarming speed, aided in part by the popularity of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. How much time and money could it cost to fix a virus infiltration? The answer could easily be hundreds or thousands of dollars, not even counting the loss of productivity when your practice is impaired for hours or days. If the problem involves a data breach or loss of patients personal health information (PHI), not handling the incident in a HIPAA-compliant way could cost you tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal fines.** The good news is that with a solid anti-virus plan in place, you can likely avoid these problems before they strike. What s the cost of a virus attack? Here s a hypothetical estimate. Actual costs vary and could be much higher. Four hours tech time at $100/hour = $400 Hard drive replacement = $75 Third party vendor assistance = $200 Staff time = $120 Four hours lost chair time =? Cost of data loss =? Total: You do the math *Ponemon Institute s 2013 Cost of Cyber Crime Study **Office of Civil Rights 4 ANTI-VIRUS ebook

5 So, what can you do to protect your network? What you can do to protect your computer systems and your patients data falls into two main categories your equipment and software, and your staff. Here are six steps you can take to help keep your systems safe: 1. Create a policy If you don t already have one, create a clear, succinct policy on how staff should protect your network and files. For example: Staff should not conduct any personal business such as , social media (including but not limited to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram) on your practice computers. If staff members notice pop-ups, something not running properly, or a computer acting slowly, they should bring it to your attention immediately. Advise staff they are not authorized to make edits to anti-virus software. Advise staff that all computers and associated equipment in the practice are to be used for business use only. Staff is not allowed to install any software or tool-bar add-ons. All software must be approved by you and installed by a trusted technician. Staff should not save any work-related files to their desktop. These files can be damaged or lost in a virus attach, and they may not be backed up. Work-related files should be saved to locations that are backed up frequently. 2. Designate a staff computer As part of your office policy, designate a computer for staff s personal use, or ask that they use personal mobile devices to access , the Internet or social media. 3. Keep your equipment and software current Anti-virus software usually updates automatically as long as you have a current license. Don t run software that is no longer supported by the vendor. Establish a computer refresh and replacement plan. 4. Install professional, business-grade anti-virus software These programs update on a defined schedule and protect against a wider range of threats. They also contain additional protective features that may be activated to meet your business needs. 5. Employ a robust redundant backup system This will protect your data in case your network comes under attack and files are corrupted or lost. Data should be backed up at least daily, both on-site and off-site. 6. Have your staff notify you immediately if there s a problem Make it clear to staff that if someone notices something running slowly or sees numerous pop-up messages, he or she should notify you immediately. The longer a problem exists, the more damage it can do, and the more vulnerable the system will be to other harmful exposures. Make sure you review and discuss the policy and any concerns or changes at least once a year. 5 ANTI-VIRUS ebook

6 Are you still using Windows XP? Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP in April That means the company no longer provides security fixes for newly discovered problems. If you re not in a position to replace or upgrade your system right away, there are a number of things you can do to reduce the risks of running an unsupported operating system: Make sure you ve installed all critical and important Windows XP updates. Make sure your anti-virus software and signatures are up to date. Make sure all your other software is up to date. If possible, stop using Windows XP computers to access the Internet or . Most important, have a plan to replace any Windows XP computers within a reasonable time. DMC can help you develop a comprehensive Windows XP upgrade plan. It s up to you It s your sole responsibility to make sure you have adequate protections in place on your computer systems and in clear policies for your staff. It s important to note that anti-virus protection may not be included in your software license or your hardware agreements, and your support contract may not include virus removal. How DMC can help DMC is here to help. For example, we can: Install hardware and software solutions to protect your data, such as our: HIPAA-compliant Redundant Backup Solution (RBS), which automatically encrypts and stores patient data on- and off-site. DAISY practice management software, which is fully encrypted, including data and scanned documents. Provide assistance with setup of a staff computer. Provide educational materials for use in training or retraining your staff. Make sure your office computers are up to date. All DMC products and services are backed by our customer service promise. We want to help you focus on what you do best: providing excellent care for your patients. The content in this e-book contains general information provided solely for educational and informational purposes. This information should not be construed as legal advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute for professional advice. The content may become outdated or superseded as time goes by. 6 ANTI-VIRUS ebook

7 dmcdental.com (7/15) July 2015

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