TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Aspen Dental has experienced a cybersecurity incident and is currently working to resolve the matter. 

The issue crippled Aspen Dental’s ability to access scheduling systems, phone systems, and other business applications.

The Aspen Group has not confirmed if patient information has been compromised amid the cybersecurity incident.

However, the healthcare industry is a bullseye for hackers who engage in cyber-criminal activity.

“It usually starts with a phishing attack,” said Tony Sabaj, head of engineering for Check Point Software Technologies. “It means you’re getting a person within the organization to click on a link or download a file.”

Sabaj has more than 25 years of experience in cyber, network, and IT security. Since the pandemic, he’s noticed the healthcare industry has been vulnerable to hackers since hospitals and healthcare delivery organizations were spread thin.

“Complete healthcare records can go anywhere from $150 to $1,000 a record depending on how complete those records are and how much data is in there,” Sabaj said.  “Compared to a credit card number or even a social security number which are going for single digit dollars on the dark web.”

The cybersecurity incident was discovered at Aspen Dental on April 25, but the company is not able to share a specific timetable as to when everything will be 100 percent back to normal. 

However, Aspen Dental says their offices are open and they are continuing to care for patients.

The issue is preventing Aspen Dental from accepting new patients and some viewers reached out to WFLA with worries that their procedures will be put on hold.

It’s not just medical facilities that hackers target.

Viera Social Media works with small businesses across the state to form a secure online plan to mitigate the risk of cyberattack.

“I always try to explain to business owners that social media pages are a lot like their business identification card,” said Kim Dickerson, owner of Viera Social Media. “When you give it to an employee or you decide to abandon a page to create a new page, then it’s almost like leaving your passport in a busy restaurant or bar where there’s a lot of traffic and anybody can walk by and grab it.”

Aspen Dental released the following statement:

Our investigation into the scope of the incident is in its early stages and remains ongoing. If it is determined that any sensitive, personal information may have been involved in the incident, we will notify those individuals in accordance with applicable law and as quickly as possible.