Hospitals continue to use insecure storage systems, with 1 billion medical images accessible online

More than 1 billion medical images of patients from across the globe can be accessed and downloaded because hospitals continue to use insecure storage systems, according to a TechCrunch report.

The images include X-rays, ultrasounds and CT scans. Around half of the images belong to patients in the U.S. Anyone with an internet connection can access the medical images if they have certain free-to-download software.

German security firm Greenbone Networks discovered the unprotected images last year.

"The amount of data exposed is still rising, even considering the amount of data taken offline due to disclosures," Dirk Schrader, leader of the Greenbone Networks, told TechCrunch.

Many hospitals and health systems store medical images in a single file through DICOM, a software designed to make it easier for providers to share patient images. However, DICOM images can be accessed by any free-to-use apps.

Along with exposing the patient image, these documents also store patients' protected health information. Many times, a patient's name, date of birth and sensitive information about the diagnoses are included with the scan. Other times, providers use a patient's Social Security number to identify the image.

To read more, click here.

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