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Radiology Practice Hack Affects Sensitive Data of 512,000

Breach Is Latest Major Cyber Incident Reported by a Medical Imaging Provider


…Medical imaging and other radiology centers are an attractive target for hackers for other reasons too, said Tom Walsh, president of privacy and security consultancy tw-Security.

“There is no easy way to encrypt images. Radiology images usually have limited patient identifiers included with the image such as patient name, medical record number, age, sex, etc.,” he said.

“There have been cases where a ‘good’ image is sold on the black market to help people who need a ‘good’ image for certain purposes,” he said. That includes passing a physical exam that includes medical images in order to qualify for a job or to apply for a visa to work or live in another country, he said.

“Desperate people will pay to cheat the system. It’s supply and demand,” he said.

While encryption for images may not be feasible, other compensating controls should be put into place, such as multifactor authentication to gain access to a picture archiving and communications system or a radiology information system, “where the dictated reports are stored and have the most confidential information,” Walsh said.

“Radiology is one of the busiest departments in a hospital. Sometimes compromises in security are made to accommodate the busy radiologist and make the jobs easier,” he said. “But what is convenient for the users is sometimes convenient for the attacker.”



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