Report: Cyber Attackers Could Add Fake Cancerous Nodules to Medical Imaging Scans
Researchers in Israel attest they have developed malware that would let cyber attackers add fake cancerous nodules to CT or MRI scans before radiologists and doctors examined them, thereby leading to leading to potential misdiagnoses, according to a story this week in the Washington Post.
The reporter, Kim Zetter, wrote in her story that the researchers “say they have developed such malware to draw attention to serious security weaknesses in critical medical imaging equipment used for diagnosing conditions and the networks that transmit those images — vulnerabilities that could have potentially life-altering consequences if unaddressed.”
Zetter’s report added, “The malware they created would let attackers automatically add realistic, malignant-seeming growths to CT or MRI scans before radiologists and doctors examine them. Or it could remove real cancerous nodules and lesions without detection, leading to misdiagnosis and possibly a failure to treat patients who need critical and timely care.”
The four researchers from the Ben-Gurion University Cyber Security Research Center in Israel who created the malware noted that one motivation for the attackers could be to target a presidential candidate or other politician to trick him or her into believing he or she has a serious illness, thus leading to a withdrawal from the race.