Health providers using unsecured Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) pose a potential threat to patients. New research from Greenbone has revealed that there has been a 60 percent increase in the exposed medical data due to leaky PACS servers.

PACS servers are used by a majority of healthcare organizations to archive medical images and share the same with other providers.

What does the research say?

  • According to Greenbone’s research into the security of PACS servers used by health providers, it has been found that about 1.19 billion confidential images are now publicly available on the internet.
  • That’s a 60 percent increase from the findings that was observed between July and September 2019.
  • Of the total images exposed, United States, India, South Africa, Brazil, and Ecuador account for 75% of the total images exposed.

United States

  • Around 786 million exposed images were identified to be from the US.
  • A subset of, i.e around 114.5 million images were fully accessible.
  • These images were exposed by 60 new PACS servers belonging to over 800 institutions including clinics, hospitals, and radiology service providers.
  • A total of 195 systems using unguarded PACS servers were identified for this huge leak.
  • 49 of these were taken offline and are no longer available online.

Missing controls

For the U.S, the major problem is associated with the lack of proper security controls. The healthcare providers were found not complying with HIPAA rules, following which 6.6% of the consumers became victims of medical identity theft.

Some of the other major victim countries are working on drafting a proper data privacy bill to protect their patients’ data.

For recommended actions, check out the full article from Cyware here.

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