A billion medical images are exposed online, as doctors ignore warnings

Every day, millions of new medical images containing the personal health information of patients are spilling out onto the internet.

Hundreds of hospitals, medical offices and imaging centers are running insecure storage systems, allowing anyone with an internet connection and free-to-download software to access over 1 billion medical images of patients across the world.

About half of all the exposed images, which include X-rays, ultrasounds and CT scans, belong to patients in the United States.

Yet despite warnings from security researchers who have spent weeks alerting hospitals and doctors’ offices to the problem, many have ignored their warnings and continue to expose their patients’ private health information.

“It seems to get worse every day,” said Dirk Schrader, who led the research at Germany-based security firm Greenbone Networks, which has been monitoring the number of exposed servers for the past year.


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