Week in Review: What we know about the ADA cyberattack | FDA proposes new cigarette ban | Tom Viola's favorite topical anesthetic

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

The ADA was hit with a cybersecurity attack that disrupted its email, phone, online chat, and membership software system, but the true impact may go much deeper. Our top story of the week covered the initial details.

On Tuesday, we reported that the ADA took its affected systems offline as soon as it became aware of the attack and began working with third-party specialists to investigate the impact. At the time of writing this letter on Friday, the ADA website still has a banner stating it is "experiencing a cybersecurity incident" and that it is "working to get systems running smoothly."

A new ransomware crew -- Black Basta -- took responsibility for the cyberattack, according to technology news website Bleeping Computer. The hacker group claims it stole personal information about ADA members, W-2 forms, and nondisclosure agreements, Bleeping Computer reported.

Cybersecurity expert Gary Salman advised dentists and dental practices to be extra diligent when clicking on links or attachments, especially those that appear to come from state dental associations. Salman also advised dental practice employees to not respond to emails that prompt them to enter usernames and passwords for emails or devices.

It may take weeks to determine the true depth of the attack, Salman said. At least one DrBicuspid.com member received phishing emails they believe are directly related to the ADA hack. If you want to share how you've been impacted, please contact us.

FDA proposes new cigarette ban

In other big news this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars -- two types of tobacco products frequently used by young people. The potential ban aims to curb smoking among the next generation and reflects a similar, albeit less stringent stance the agency took against flavored e-cigarette products in 2019.

The ban is not yet final, and the FDA is seeking comments from the public. The agency also said it will not take action against individuals who use or possess menthol cigarettes or flavored cigars, but it will address manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, importers, and retailers.

Topical anesthetics beyond benzocaine

Last but not least, pharmacologist Tom Viola, RPh, knows dental professionals believe benzocaine is the No. 1 contender for topical anesthetic of the year. But in the latest episode of Dental Dose, he wants everyone to know: Don't be so married to benzocaine. In the video, Viola discusses some of benzocaine's drawbacks and shares his favorite alternative topical anesthetic.

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