Virus protection as part of your Computer Security is essential for HIPAA compliancy and data protection. Every computer in the office absolutely must run real-time antivirus protection. There are many good antivirus products available, and if your IT person is recommending one, we suggest following their recommendation. No antivirus software is perfect however, so make quality backups.

Also see Antivirus Best Practices.

Antivirus Software and Firewalls: Many antivirus programs have their own software firewall. We recommend you use the Windows firewall and turn off the antivirus software or internet security. If you still want to use your own firewall, then you MUST Open Port 3306 which is used to access the MySQL database. This only needs to be done on the server, not on each workstation.

Each firewall has a different way of setting up which ports get blocked, but you should always be able to add ports to an exceptions list. Since Open Dental uses ports, software firewall setting will need to be adjusted.

Secure vs Insecure Network: It is not secure to expose the MySQL service to the internet (World Wide Web). MySQL is only as vulnerable as your local network security allows. If you must run Open Dental MySQL on an unsecured network (e.g. you are part of a larger campus network) you may be vulnerable to attacks from your own network. This is similar to having a port open to the entire internet. You will need to isolate the MySQL server and connect using our Middle Tier service instead of exposing MySQL. After setting up the Middle Tier for your client machine access, block port 3306 using your Windows Firewall and then only allow access to port 3306 from localhost (

Ransomware (e.g. a crypto virus): For HIPAA guidance on ransomware, see It is up to each office to decide how to react if data is compromised.

Antivirus Software

We do not recommend or discourage any specific product. While using antivirus software is mandatory, there are downsides. Below are some comments about antivirus products, based on our experience as well as customers' issues. Many of the issues only existed in one specific version of the antivirus software and have been fixed.

Avast: Some users may experience Open Dental slowness when using Avast pro version 10.4.2233. You may need to disable Avast or use another version.

AVG: For a few customers, AVG has identified Open Dental as a virus and quarantined it. In this case, you can create an exception (1/21/2014). AVG has also been known to stop Open Dental from opening even when AVG's resident shield is disabled. In this case, also create an exception (12/17/2014).

Kaspersky: Reasonably priced editions for both workstations and servers, and a central management tool is available to push changes out to all computers on your network. There have been some issues:

  1. Operating system freezing solved by uninstalling Kaspersky altogether.
  2. Slowness\Timeout with third party software (Citrix GoToAssist with Windows 7).
  3. Full Operating System failure (Windows 7) requiring OS reinstallation.
  4. Internet connectivity loss on 2/5/13.

McAfee: Has blocked Open Dental from working in the past. In this case, it must be uninstalled from the server. Even if you turn it off, it will keep interfering.

Symantec (Norton): If using Symantec's Firewall Manager, it has been known to block Open Dental and MySQL, or to identify Open Dental as a virus and quarantine it. In these cases, you can create an exception. These issues are uncommon (1/21/2014).

Total Defense Security: For some customers, certain versions have caused database corruptions (1/7/2014).

Trend Micro PcCillin: Sometimes crashed the computer.

Webroot: For some customers, Webroot identified Open Dental as a threat and blocked users from accessing it. Upgrade Webroot to version and remove Open Dental from quarantine.


If a computer is malfunctioning, one possibility is to temporarily uninstall the antivirus software, then test to see if the problem is resolved. Always make sure that some form of antivirus software is reinstalled, either the same one, or a different brand.

Recover Data After a Virus