Victims of a computer attack, dental practices had to pay a ransom

It has been the nightmare of companies, municipalities or administrative services for months: being the victim of a cyberattack and seeing your activity reduced to nothing. The latest victim, or rather the latest, are medical offices in Gironde, explains France 3 New Aquitaine. At least a dozen firms fell victim to unscrupulous web hackers last November. A period of chaos and stress, as two orthodontists from a practice in Pessac (Gironde) mentioned to our colleagues. “We no longer had any trace not only of appointments, but also of regulations, reimbursements, patient history, their x-rays, etc. We had lost everything”, says one of them.

All their activity, which works thanks to computers, was therefore at a standstill. “When we opened, it was a Swiss cheese, there were holes in the schedules, we no longer had access to appointments”, abounds the medical secretary of the cabinet. For the orthodontists, it was necessary to manage the expectation and the anger of the customers sometimes there “in duplicate or in triplon” without counting the nights to wonder how the situation was going to be arranged. His partner adds that it was impossible for them to consult the customer history, which is essential in their profession.

Not paying

A situation that lasted about ten days until the two professionals put an end to the mess. As they explain on France 3they yielded to the cybercriminals and decided to pay. Believing themselves in a bad movie, they also wondered if they were going to be able to recover all their data by paying. Then they decided to go to a cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, and transfer the money. Eventually, they got it all back. According to France 3, like them, a dozen cabinets were trapped. They have almost all decided to pay as well, sometimes up to €15,000.

A scourge that the leader of the group of fight against cybercrime de Bordeaux, who prefers to remain anonymous. According to her, for two or three years, these acts have multiplied and small businesses are increasingly targeted. She warns: “The question today is not whether we will be attacked, but when”, with criminals spotting companies that have flaws in their computer systems. Still, simple rules exist like daily backups, updates, and “digital hygiene.” The leader of the fight group speaks of organized criminal groups “with people who each have specific tasks”. She also recommends not paying ransoms, as this does not necessarily involve data recovery. In Pessac, the two orthodontists have invested in hard drives, which they now change daily.

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Victims of a computer attack, dental practices had to pay a ransom

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