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Cyber Criminals Hacking Medical Imaging Equipment: Concerned Yet?

Posted by Vikki Harmonay on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 @ 15:03 PM

There are all kinds of cyber crimes, including stock manipulation schemes, intellectual property theft, telecommunications Radiology has been Hacked.jpg
scam, financial fraud scheme and pharmaceutical fraud.  But there are a growing number of cyber attacks on the healthcare industry. Case in point, last August Banner Health reported a data breach affecting 3.7 million patients and staff at 23 hospitals and specialized facilities. 

One of the easiest targets, however, is legacy imaging equipment and outdated medical IT systems, like C-Arms, CT scanners and MRIs. They are considered weak links that are easily accessible by hackers wanting to get into medical information technology systems.  Why are they so easy to hack?  Because of their reliance on operating systems that are obsolete or unable to upgrade security, like Windows NT and XP.  It’s easy for hackers to load malware into these systems and access patient data.


This kind of cyber attack is called “medjacking,” and it’s often used to invade outdated CT scanners, PET scanners, C-Arms, medical lasers, ventilators, dialysis machines and infusion pumps.  But one of the alarming trends is that these medjackers are often disgruntled employees.  However, they can also be political operatives or cybercriminals who are just motivated by money.  And patient or medical records are more valuable than credit card numbers on the black market.


Ransomware is getting more and more popular.  It’s when a cyber criminal hacks an information system, encrypts the data and demands payment to decrypt it. 

The Challenge

Professionals in healthcare want to extend the life of legacy systems. Understandable, as it can save money.  However, by extending the life of an outdated system, it can be more easily accessed by a cyber criminal.  But the real vulnerability comes from the shear number of patient portals out there.  The more portals, the more opportunity to hack electronic medical records. And as more data is stored on “the cloud” medical records are even more vulnerable. 

The Solution

With cyber crime on the rise, medical facilities, clinics and practices must be extremely vigilant to protect patient records.  Corners can’t be cut on IT and cyber protection costs.  It’s essential to make sure your CTPET scanners and other radiology systems can be protected from attack, which may mean upgrading your current equipment.  When in doubt, talk to your IT specialist for an upgrade or to an expert at Atlantis Worldwide for refurbished medical imaging equipment.  We can help determine if your current system is at risk or not.   Contact us today!

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Meet the author: Vikki Harmonay

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Topics: Imaging Equipment Solutions, More Than Just Imaging Solutions, Medical Imaging Equipment