Radiology Data is Not Secure

March 23, 2016

Storage of radiology data is not secure, despite efforts to keep it safe.

Radiology data remains insecure, even in 2016, according to a study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Researchers from the United States and Russia undertook a study to determine the current state of radiology security by exploring the worldwide security of medical imaging archives. They performed a scan of the entire Web of networked computers and devices, locating open and unprotected radiology servers. The researchers used the DICOM data-transmitting standard.

The results showed that there were 2,772 unprotected radiology or DICOM servers across the world, with 719 fully open to patient data communications. The researchers used geolocation to analyze and rank their findings according to country utilization, allowing them to build maps and a world ranking of clinical security, suggesting that even the most radiology-advanced countries have hospitals with serious security gaps.

Although much has been done over the past two decades to develop and implement the safety and security of radiology data, this area is still insecure. “The results provided should be applied to raise awareness and begin an earnest dialogue toward elimination of the problem,” the authors wrote. “The application we designed and the novel scanning approach we developed can be used to identify security breaches and to eliminate them before they are compromised.”