The American Dental Association (ADA) was hit by a weekend cyberattack that caused them to shut down parts of their network while they investigated the attack.
The ADA is a dental and oral hygiene advocacy association that provides training, workshops and courses to its 175,000 members.
For many who live in the US, they are likely to recognize the ADA Accepted seal on oral hygiene products, such as toothpaste and toothbrushes, indicating that the product is safe and contributes to health oral.
ADA suffers in weekend cyberattack
On Friday, the ADA suffered a cyberattack that forced them to take affected systems offline, disrupting various online services, phones, email and web chat.
The ADA website now displays a banner indicating that their website is experiencing technical difficulties and that they are working to get the systems back up and running.
This outage is causing online services to be inaccessible, including the ADA Store, ADA Catalog, MyADA, Meeting Registration, Fee Pages, ADA CE Online, ADA Accreditation Service, and ADA Transitions. ADA practice. The company has also resorted to using Gmail addresses while its email systems are offline.
When BleepingComputer contacted the ADA for comment about the attack, they told us that they were only experiencing technical issues and that they were investigating the cause of the outage.
However, emails sent to ADA members and seen by BleepingComputer paint a much bleaker picture.
Last night, the ADA began emailing its members, including state dental associations, practices and organizations, with an update on the attack and information that can be shared with the recipient’s members.
“On Friday, the ADA was the victim of a cybersecurity incident that caused an outage in certain systems, including Aptify and the ADA’s email, phone, and web chat. Upon discovery, the ADA responded immediately by taking the affected systems and began an investigation into the nature and extent of the outage,” read an email sent to ADA members and seen by BleepingComputer.
The email says they are working with “third-party cybersecurity specialists” and law enforcement to investigate the attack.
“Federal law enforcement has been notified and we are cooperating with them in this active investigation, so we ask for your understanding that we must limit the amount of detail we can share at this time. In the meantime, we understand you may receive questions about the incident.” of members”, continues the email sent by ADA to its members.
“It is important that we provide members with accurate information about this incident. It is equally important that we respond with accurate information while also being aware that this is an active investigation.”
The ADA cyberattack is not only affecting its website, but also state dental associations, such as those in New York, Virginia, and Florida, that rely on ADA online services to register an account or pay fees.
The ADA says that preliminary investigations do not indicate that member information or other data has been compromised. However, the description of this attack sounds like a ransomware attack, and almost all of the initial press releases say the same thing, with stolen data later released by threat actors.
BleepingComputer has contacted the ADA with further questions about the attack, but has not received a response.
Likely ransomware attack
While the ADA has not revealed what type of cyberattack they suffered, all signs point to a ransomware attack.
Ransomware gangs typically end their attacks over the weekend, when there are fewer personnel monitoring systems and computers are left unattended so unusual activity is not detected.
Before devices are encrypted, threat actors often stalk the network for days, if not weeks, stealing data to use as part of extortion attempts.
After encrypting the devices, the threat actors will demand a bitcoin ransom to receive a decryptor and prevent public disclosure of the stolen data.
While it’s too early to know for sure if this was a ransomware attack, if it was, we’ll likely learn more in a few weeks when threat actors start extorting the ADA publicly.