HHS: 130 health systems might be exposing 2 million patients' medical images, data online

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Millions of patients may be exposed because of vulnerabilities in medical imaging archiving software.

Four details:

1. Picture archiving communications systems are used by hospitals to share medical images and data. Research discovered in 2019 that a vulnerability in these systems can be exploited to expose patient data.

2. Hundreds of healthcare organizations continue to have unpatched PACS servers visible, and HHS recommends hospitals review their inventory to determine if PACS are still being used, according to a June 29 news release.

3. As of June, PACS are still widely used, with recent reports estimating 130 health systems are exposing more than 2 million patients and 275 million medical images, the report said. Patient data that can be exposed includes names, Social Security numbers, images and medical procedure information.

4. To mitigate breaches, HHS recommends applying basic security principles, such as validating internet connections, requiring passwords to access data and placing data behind a firewall.

To read the full report, click here.

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