- Cybercriminals are launching picture archiving and communication system (PACS) attacks to steal patient data from healthcare organizations.
- Hackers can exploit PACS security gaps to launch attacks and illegally access patient data.
- Healthcare organizations must utilize medical visualization software that complies with HIPAA and other data security regulations to keep cybercriminals at bay.
- Medical visualization software can provide surgeons, radiologists and other healthcare professionals with secure access to MRI and CT scans from any location, at any time.
- Healthcare professionals can deploy medical visualization software that improves security, productivity, and efficiency.
Data breaches are happening more frequently in healthcare, but help is available. Here’s how secure medical imaging storage solutions can keep healthcare organizations safe against data security risks.
Healthcare data is a valuable commodity, and cybercriminals are increasingly using malware and other malicious tools to launch picture archiving and communication system (PACS) attacks.
Research indicates the number of healthcare cyberattacks rose 55% year over year in 2020. These attacks compromised the protected health information (PHI) of approximately 26 million people in the United States.
Don’t expect the number of cyberattacks in healthcare to decline any time soon, either. Cybercriminals are constantly exploring new attack vectors, including those associated with MRI and CT scans. If healthcare organizations are ill-equipped to guard against evolving PACS attacks, they risk costly, time-intensive data breaches. In addition, these organizations can face HIPAA violations due to their failure to properly secure patient data.
Ultimately, medical visualization software can help surgeons, radiologists, and other healthcare practitioners comply with HIPAA regulations and minimize the risk that MRI and CT scans fall into cybercriminals’ hands.
Why do medical imaging cyberattacks occur?
Medical imaging cyberattacks are an ongoing threat due, in part, to security gaps that plague healthcare organizations relative to MRI and CT scan storage, security, and management.
For example, a healthcare organization may digitize patient records as part of its efforts to become more productive and efficient. The organization may store these records in a public cloud database without appropriate safeguards in place, giving cybercriminals a chance to take advantage of unprotected cloud access points to those patient records.
Even if the healthcare organization has security software in place to keep medical imaging data safe, those tools must be updated and maintained regularly or risk security gaps that cybercriminals can exploit.
It’s important to be proactive in complying with HIPAA to keep patient data safe. With the right medical image sharing and PACS storage solution in place, these organizations can go beyond legacy security software and tools to prevent cybercriminals from accessing patients’ MRI and CT scans.
What happens if a healthcare organization experiences a PACS cyberattack?
A PACS cyberattack can have far-flung effects on a healthcare organization and its patients.
For the organization, the attack raises concerns about its ability to secure patient data. The organization will need to notify any affected patients following the incident. Also, it will need to investigate the attack, determine its root cause, and take steps to prevent similar incidents from happening down the line.
An investigation into whether the organization violated HIPAA or other data security mandates could be opened, too. If the organization did not secure patient data according to these mandates, it risks penalties that can total millions of dollars.
Furthermore, the healthcare organization will have to provide its patients with information about any steps they need to take following a PACS cyberattack. Patients will also need to stay up to date on how to respond to the incident. Otherwise, they could face severe consequences if their sensitive data remains accessible to cybercriminals long into the future. At this point, the trust between the organization and its patients could be broken, and the patient may look elsewhere for medical treatment.
How can a PACS image sharing and storage platform guard against cyberattacks?
Not all medical image sharing and storage options are created equal. There are specialized PACS tools that align with HIPAA, FDA, and DICOM standards to maintain secure access to its patients’ MRI and CT scans. The software is designed with these standards top of mind, ensuring the organization can comply with globally recognized healthcare data security mandates.
In addition, the software can provide transport layer security (TLS) and data at rest encryption, which hides patient data from cybercriminals. Encryption scrambles patient data and ensures it can only be read by authorized users who can decrypt it. Thus, even if cybercriminals breach a healthcare organization, they won’t be able to view MRI or CT scans or other encrypted patient data.
Why your facility should consider medical visualization software
Medical visualization software built with security top of mind won’t stop cyberattacks. It can, however, make it exceedingly difficult for cybercriminals to access patient data.
Healthcare organizations can deploy medical imaging platforms to keep their MRI and CT scans secure. The software also enables these organizations to retrieve medical images quickly and easily from a secure central database and securely share MRIs and CT images with peers via smartphones, tablets, and other devices.
DICOM Director has introduced Store XR, a PACS system that healthcare professionals can use to safely store and access medical images from authorized devices. Store XR empowers surgeons, radiologists, and other healthcare practitioners to secure patients’ MRI and CT scans in accordance with various data security requirements. To learn more about Store XR, contact DICOM today.