Developed in the mid-1980s, the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standard has been the way many medical professionals have stored and transferred images for three decades now. This commonly used medical records system is also responsible for leaking at least one billion sensitive images through the internet: x-rays, MRI and CT scans, ultrasounds, nuclear medicine images and even dental records.
What’s worse, some of these images have patient diagnosis and social security numbers attached to them. This sort of information is a gold mine for criminals looking to perpetrate insurance fraud and confidence schemes that target elderly patients.
How is this happening? Medical offices and facilities store these images on internet-connected servers which are often simply not secured. Anyone with freely available DICOM software and internet access can connect to these unprotected servers and start downloading this sensitive information with no real hacking prowess required.