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    How to prevent tech revenge at your practice

    Imagine coming into the office one day and getting word that all of your patients’ data, past records, tax documents, and financial statements had all been stolen—or worse yet, erased. This may seem like a nightmare scenario getting infiltrated by malicious hackers, but it could actually be a case of ex-employee tech revenge.

    Adam Parker, OD, president-elect of Virginia Optometric Association, says employers are vulnerable to these scenarios, and ODs are especially at risk considering the array of people they work with to make patient care possible.

    The danger of tech revenge

    Tech revenge, as Dr. Parker explains it, is a fired employee trying to inflict harm on you or your business through technology. As technology is streamlined, all of a practice’s data can fit onto a flash drive. That flash drive can easily fall into the wrong hands, especially if those wrong hands once used to be the “right” hands.

    Related: 6 steps to survive a ransomware attack

    From stolen devices—computers, hard drives, or equipment—to hacking of company files, tech revenge can lead to reputation sabotage by way of posting negative online reviews on Yelp or other review sites.

    In one case, a vengeful ex-employee replaced several slides on a sales PowerPoint presentation with inappropriate videos. In another, an employee hacked the manager's email to send out obscene messages to coworkers.

    “It's becoming easier to fall victim to tech revenge,” Dr. Parker says. “People can now enact revenge from the comfort of their couches.”

    An OD’s reputation is especially important in the local community, says Dr. Parker. A vengeful employee who doesn't have the know-how to execute a more technical form of tech revenge can easily target an OD’s reputation. This is especially worrisome because reputation attacks aren't necessarily illegal, yet they can be unfair and cause much harm, Dr. Parker says.

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    Optometry Times A/V