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Why You Need to Secure Your Chiropractic Website

By December 21, 2022Chiropractic

What does it mean to have a secure chiropractic website? Don’t all chiropractic web design specialists ensure websites are configured to incorporate programming elements to prevent hacking?

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is no. Unless you specifically hire a developer with experience creating chiropractic practice websites, you will likely get something that leaves a lot to be desired– and completely open to hackers.

Why Chiropractic Websites are Targets of Cyberattacks

Any type of healthcare provider website is susceptible to cyberattacks for several reasons. The top reason involves patient information, including social security numbers, bank accounts, and primary addresses. If a hacker can swipe parts of a patient’s records, it gives them enough knowledge to engage in identity theft and, ultimately, steal money from checking or credit card accounts.

Like other health providers, chiropractors focus exclusively on their highest priority– their patients. It’s easy for busy chiropractors to overlook exploitable cracks in their websites that they expect chiropractic web design developers to secure for them.

3 Ways Hackers Compromise Patient Information

Malware

Malware is specially created software designed to either gain unauthorized access to sensitive information or to damage a website and associated systems. Examples of malware include ransomware, worms, spyware, adware, and keyloggers.
Hackers insert malware into unsecured chiropractic websites using emails with attached .exe. files or files that are shared on cloud platforms. Once malware has infected a website, hackers can remotely control the software through servers called “command and control” servers and adroitly evade firewalls monitoring inbound connections.

Passwords

Passwords such as “1234”, “Password”, or “0000” are as attractive to hackers as bees are to pollen. Weak passwords not only ask to be hacked but also allow hackers to access all patient information and internal practice records.
Even amateur hackers know how to use software that can produce thousands of different password combinations in less than two minutes. Shaky passwords like “1234” will be discovered, quickly utilized, and exploited by hackers. Social security numbers and credit card information are sold for thousands of dollars on the dark web.

Social Engineering / Phishing

Phishing involves hackers sending messages to the contact email on a chiropractic website and tricking recipients into clicking on the email. In most cases, a phishing email pretends to be coming from someone the recipient knows– a company CEO or the human resources department– and asks the recipient for login credentials or other valuable information.
For example, a staff member of a chiropractic practice receives an email that appears to be from a legitimate insurance agency. The “agency” claims they need verification of a patient’s social security number or address. When the staff member replies to the email with this requested information, they are actually providing a hacker with a patient’s social security number.

What is a Secure Chiropractic Website?

Let’s take an in-depth look at what a professional chiropractic website design should include in its programming code to prevent unauthorized intrusions:

SSL Encryption

Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption applies specific algorithms to data that is communicated between servers and their clients. These algorithms replace client-server transmissions with variables that turn these transmissions into incomprehensible lines of gibberish. Let’s say a staff member is making changes to a client’s bank account information. When that member sends information to the server to be placed into the client’s file, SSL encryption would then displace “West Chester Bank account number 4208745” with a series of alphanumeric variables that are decrypted with an exclusive key known only to the chiropractor’s office staff.

SSL encryption is much more complicated than described above and offers superior protection against hackers attempting to steal and sell patient information. Even if a hacker manages to access patient data, they will be unable to read or use the data.

Websites incorporating SSL encryption will have a padlock icon and “https” visible in their address bars. The SSL certificate providing the strongest level of security for any chiropractic web design is called the Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificate. All medical websites should have an EV SSL certification to protect data assets.

Firewalls

Firewalls are security software devices that protect networks by blocking malicious traffic that could infect a computer with malware. A firewall offers excellent anti-hacking security by allowing only incoming communications recognized as safe.

Types of firewalls include:

  • Proxy service
  • Packet-filtering
  • Unified threat management
  • Stateful multi-layer inspection
  • Network address translation
  • Virtual
  • Next-generation

Chiropractic website design experts at ViziSites will determine which kind of firewall would best suit your practice and recommend firewalls be implemented along with other website security measures.

5 Reasons Why You Need to Secure Your Chiropractic Website

Possible Litigation

Class action lawsuits have been filed by patients who have had their personal data stolen by cybercriminals hacking into unsecured healthcare websites. Whether you are a chiropractor, dermatologist, or surgeon, you could be facing expensive liability lawsuits if your website is not properly secured.

Removal from Google Searches

Medical practice websites infected with malware can be detected by Firefox and Chrome browsers. The website may be blacklisted or removed to avoid visitors from being infected by malware.

Reputational Damage

Even if a hacker manages to steal only a minimal amount of patient data from a chiropractic website, the practice will still have to reveal to all patients that a few other patients’ information has been compromised. This could result in a substantial loss of patients who no longer have the confidence in the practice to keep their personal data secure.

Lower Search Engine Ranking

A secure chiropractic website will consistently rank higher than an unsecured or partially secured chiropractic website. Search engine crawlers are configured to detect whether a website is HTTPS or HTTP (not secured). Blacklisted websites also rank low, if at all, until the malware has been removed from the site.

Work with Professional Chiropractic Web Design Experts at ViziSites

Impress new and existing patients with secure, state-of-the-art web designs that set your practice apart from other chiropractic websites. Have more questions about website security standards at ViziSites? Call us at 760-658-9303 opt. 1 or contact a consultant today for a free demo!

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