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ADA provides Center for Professional Success resources in response to ransomware threat

May 15, 2017 The ADA Center for Professional Success has resources to help dentists fend off malware cyberattacks in the wake of WannaCry ransomware being reported in several countries around the world in early May, with hospitals among the organizations targeted.

While the attack is unlikely to pose an urgent threat for most dentists, according to Christopher Maag, director of the ADA Department of Technology Architecture and Infrastructure, dentists should be mindful of the threat and know that the Center for Professional Success can help. Articles on the Center for Professional Success site list several tips on protecting dental offices from ransomware, as well as an example of how ransomware can be particularly devastating. Visit Success.ADA.org and search "ransomware" to access the article.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and restricts users' access to it until a "ransom" is paid to unlock it. Individuals and organizations should be aware that paying the ransom does not guarantee that access will be restored. Ransomware can spread easily when it encounters unpatched or outdated software.

On May 12-13, Microsoft took an unusual step and issued patches to protect older unsupported operating systems — Windows XP, Windows 8.0, Windows Server 2003 — against this malware, according to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team of the Department of Homeland Security.

Mr. Maag said that now is the time to replace unsupported operating systems — or the computers running them — with a newer version that is still being patched regularly by Microsoft. He also stressed the importance of keeping your computer up to date in regards to security patches and antivirus programs.

Additional information on ransomware can be found at hhs.gov by searching for "ransomware."