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Hospitals are leaving millions of sensitive medical images exposed online

Source: ZD Net

Cybersecurity researchers discover millions of medical files and associated personal data left discoverable on the open web due to being stored insecurely.

Danny Palmer
Source: ZD Net
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

By Danny Palmer | December 15, 2020 — 13:09 GMT (05:09 PST) | Topic: Security

Hacking healthcare: Why connected medical devices and hospitals are such a tempting target for cyber criminals WATCH NOW

More than 45 million medical images – including X-rays, MRI and CT scans, as well as accompanying data that could identify the people in those images – are exposed online on unsecured servers and storage devices.

The exposed medical data leaking from hospitals and medical centres around the world has been discovered by cybersecurity company CybelAngel over the course of a six-month long investigation into medical device security, which also found that outsiders could easily access sensitive medical data.

MORE ON PRIVACY

Cyber criminals who gain access to sensitive medical information could exploit it by selling it on the dark web, blackmailing identifiable individuals, or even potentially using the exposed servers as means of delivering ransomware to hospital networks.

Many medical devices are vulnerable to cyberattacks or exposing data because the technology is often outdated, and healthcare IT and security budgets are stretched.

The researchers were able to uncover more than 45 million unique cases of Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) files being accessible without the need for hacking tools or even a password, but simply left visible to the open web

“The 45 million files are on unprotected servers. What we found was all this data was exposed for anyone,” David Sygula, senior cybersecurity analyst at CybelAngel, told ZDNet.

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In some cases identified by researchers, insecure network attached storage (NAS) was the reason for sensitive files potentially being able to be accessed. The use of FTP or SMB protocols and unpatched security flaws could provide outsiders with access to the machines and the data stored within.

Other cases involved servers and storage being attached to other network devices in order to meet a functional need, such as printing files, but the way they’d been set up meant they’ve become backdoors into networks.

“Let’s say you have a NAS and you need to share a printer, it creates guest access to the printer and all your security falls apart because when the printer accesses your NAS, it leaves the door open,” Sygula explained.

CybelAngel identified malicious scripts, including cryptocurrency miners, on a number of the servers examined, suggesting that the researchers weren’t the first to identify and access the unsecured devices.

Snooping on sensitive medical information like X-Rays and scans is intrusive enough, but it’s also possible that malicious hackers who gain access to this are also able to identify patients via metadata stored in images, which could even include the physician’s name, the medical centre, the body part photographed, and the patient’s name, or date of birth. All of this information could potentially be exploited for fraud and other malicious purposes.

“If these documents were also accessed by cyber criminals, they could have been sold on the dark web,” Sygula explained.

Researchers identified servers around the world that are leaking data, although with hundreds of them out there, it hasn’t been possible for them to contact every health institution to let them know – which is why all of the statistics around this research have been released anonymously. But all healthcare providers should regard this as a warning to check the security of their networks and storage.

“This is a concerning discovery and proves that more stringent security processes must be put in place to protect how sensitive medical data is shared and stored by healthcare professionals. A balance between security and accessibility is imperative to prevent leaks from becoming a major data breach,” said Sygula.

In order to avoid data being exposed, it’s recommended that networks are properly segmented so critical diagnostic equipment such as X-Ray machines and supporting systems aren’t connected to the wider business or public-facing networks, so they can’t be accessed directly from outside.

In recent history we have seen many breaches of our data in ways we did not expect. Whether voluntary or not, the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica Scandal is one of the most recent of such scandals. Is it okay that this industry remains unregulated with regard to the easy access of you and your families data? What would you like to see happen? Why? Why not? Should you know how your data is shared in clear non legal terminology?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Denied Bail By London Court

Robert Hart
Forbes Staff
Source: Forbes Business

TOPLINE

Julian Assange has been refused bail by a British judge just two days after she had blocked his extradition to the United States, where he faces charges of espionage and hacking — the judge said Assange “still has an incentive to abscond from these, as yet unresolved, proceedings” and that there is reason to believe he may not surrender to court to face further proceedings if summoned. 

BRITAIN-US-ECUADOR-AUSTRALIA-DIPLOMACY-COURT-ASSANGE
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was denied bail in London Wednesday. AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

KEY FACTS

Judge Vanessa Baraitser, who blocked Assange’s extradition to the U.S. Monday on account of his mental health and likelihood of attempting suicide if held in an American prison, told London’s Westminster Magistrates Court that the U.S. had a right to challenge her decision. 

“If Mr Assange absconds during this process then they will have lost the opportunity to do so,” Baraitser said, pointing to his history of “attempts to evade extradition to the United States” in the past, which has included a seven-year stint in Ecuador’s London embassy, where he sought asylum.

Clair Dobbin, a lawyer representing the U.S., said the court “should be under no doubt about his resources to abscond,” pointing to an offer of political asylum from Mexico following the extradition hearing Monday and Assange’s previous failure to comply with bail conditions. 

“This court should be under no illusion either as to the readiness of other states to offer Mr Assange protection,” Dobbin said, adding that the extradition request had been denied solely on the grounds of his mental health.  

Assange’s lawyer and partner both called on the court to release Assange, who has been held in the high-security Belmarsh prison for over a year awaiting the extradition hearing. 

KEY BACKGROUND

Assange is wanted in the U.S. for his role in releasing a huge trove of confidential and sensitive information in 2010, one of the largest leaks in U.S. history, including hundreds of thousands of secret military documents relating to Afghanistan and Iraq and many diplomatic cables. He faces 18 charges of espionage and hacking, including allegations he worked with whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Assange and his lawyers argue that the U.S.’ action against is politically motivated as WikiLeaks published U.S. government documents revealing evidence of war crimes and human rights abuses. The public speech figurehead has been trapped in the U.K. for nearly ten years. In 2011, a court ordered his extradition to Sweden to face allegations of rape, a ruling upheld by the U.K.’s Supreme Court in 2012. However, authorities were unable to extradite Assange as he had taken refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy. Eventually, relations between Assange and Ecuador’s leadership soured, and he was evicted from the embassy in 2019 by British authorities who took him into custody. There he awaited Monday’s extradition hearing, where Baraitser blocked the American request. Though she said Assange’s conduct went beyond that of a journalist, she could not sanction his extradition on health grounds. Baraitser expressed concern about the toll imprisonment in the U.S. would take on Assange’s mental health, believing he would be at risk of suicide if held in a U.S. prison. 

CRUCIAL QUOTE

“As far as Mr Assange is concerned this case has not yet been won … the outcome of this appeal is not yet known,” Baraitser said.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

The U.S. is appealing the extradition block, with Dobbin stressing that it had been denied  only on grounds of mental health. “It is a decision that hangs on a single thread,” she said. WikiLeaks has said it intends to appeal the bail refusal.

BIG NUMBER

175. If convicted, this is how many years Assange potentially faces in jail in the U.S..

I am a London-based reporter for Forbes covering breaking news. Previously, I have worked as a reporter for a specialist legal publication covering big data and as a freelance journalist and policy analyst covering science, tech and health. I have a master’s degree in Biological Natural Sciences and a master’s degree in the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge. Follow me on Twitter @theroberthart or email me at rhart@forbes.com 

Data leaks can have a profound effect on a country and consequently the world. Or a data leak can have a profound impact on you though the leaking of health care records or your data posted on social media platforms such as Facebook, who recently opened a neurological center focused on studying marketing. Many have called for the regulation of the industries involved in such links as well as the breaking up of large technology companies such as Facebook and Google? What would you like to see happen? Why? Why not? Should these industries be regulated? Why? Why not?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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Forms of Health Care Fraud – Upcoding

Doctors Are Charging More for Medicare Patients

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Health Care Fraud
Source: Public Integrity
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Do you every look at what your health care insurance company is charged and for what services? Have you ever received health care service that were questionable? Do you know how much health care fraud costs taxpayers annually? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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COVID Scams – National Health Care Anti Fraud Association

COVID-19 Fraud Alert (May 2020) - Text Scams

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NHCAA – COVID 19 Scams
Source: National Health Care Anti Fraud Association
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Education and awareness can often be key to preventing fraud. How can this article help the elderly in your family? Elderly people are often targets of many forms of scams. How will this article help you? What did you learn? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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COVID 19 Scams – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Beware of scams related to the coronavirus - consumerfinance.gov

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CFPB COVID 19 Scams
Sourcce: CFPB
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During these times we are praying for your health and safety. What measures can you take to protect yourself and yours from COIVID 19 Scams? How could a COVID 19 Scam impact you and yours right now? How has this article helped you? The CFPB also takes certain complaints and sues under certain conditions. Share your comments with the community by positing them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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COVID 19 and Reporting Fraud

GAO: FraudNet – Reporting Fraud, Waste, Abuse, and Mismanagement of Federal Funds

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Reporting Fraud, Waste, Abuse & Mismanagement
Source: GAO (Government Accountability Office)
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Beware of fraud and reporting it are both essential but two entirely different things. Fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement can have profound and wide sweeping effects on more people than just you. Often where there is one example of fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement there are several cases of such. Reporting fraud, abuse, waste and mismanagement is bigger than one person and can be of benefit to that person and several others. we hope this article empowers you to take action against fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement and serves to protect you in the midst of this pandemic. Do you know of anyone who has been a victim of fraud, waste, abuse or mismanagement? When government funds are used fraudulently, wastefully, abused or mismanaged, are not all tax payers victims? How do you and yours protect against fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement? Share your comments with the community by posting your comments below. Share the wealth of health with your friend and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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COVID 19 Fraud Scams

U.S. Postal Inspection Service COVID Scams PSA

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COVID Scams PSA
Source: US Postal Inspection Service
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Unfortunately, during a crisis there are those who will try to take advantage of those engulfed in the crisis. When it comes to COVID 19, we are all impacted by the crisis. Beware of these COVID 19 scams outlined in the video by the US Postal Inspection Service. How have you and yours coped with the pandemic? What has made things easier for you and yours? What are some best practices that you have learned? Share your comments with the community by posting your comments below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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Protecting against COVID19

What You Need To Know About Handwashing

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COVID 19 Protections – Basics
Source: CDC
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There is still a lot to learn about COVID 19. Russia recently approached WHO (World Health Organization) regarding putting a COVID 19 vaccine through their tests and certifications. Many companies and organizations are working on a solution to COVID 19, so we hope that a solution is not far off. In the mean time lets be certain about some CDC (Center for Disease Control) basics that are helping to prevent the spread of COVID. What are some best practices you implement daily to protect yourself and others from COVID 19? Do you wear a mask? Do you boost your immune system? Share your comments with the community by posting below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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Using Face Masks Properly

Medical and fabric masks: who wears what when?

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Proper Face Mask Use
Source: WHO (World Health Organization)
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With everyone across the globe being impacted in some form or fashion by COVID 19, masks have become apart of our daily wardrobe. In some cases, like in Norfolk, VA, USA, masks are required to enter some establishments. This video by the WHO educates us on the proper way to use and wear our masks to prevent the spread of COVID. How often do you go out in public? Where do you keep your mask? Do you wear a mask daily? Do you know of anyone not impacted by COVID 19? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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COVID Wise App

covid 19 shidonna raven garden and cook

On Wednesday, August 5, 2020 Governor Ralph Northam announced the COVID Wise App, which can be found in Play Store and should also be found in Apple Store. Northam clearly stated that the app does not collect your data but you can voluntarily submit your data, we believe anonymously via the app. The purpose of the app is to inform you if you have been in proximity to someone who is COVID 19 positive. As governors across the US grapple with mixed messaging from our nations capital, they have been seeking solutions to combat what some have called a biological war. This is Virginia’s tool to combat the war on COVID 19. We encourage you to learn more about the app and to share your experience with the community.

Indeed the whole world is all in this together. Let us pull together. This app may not be available in your state however a comparable app maybe available. Contact your local authorities to discover what they are doing to prevent the spread of COVID 19. Authorities are also encouraging people to get tested for COVID 19. In Norfolk, VA, USA you can click this link to learn more about free COVID 19 testing. During these times we wish you and yours the best of health. There are other preventative measures one can take. Some doctors have reccomended taking vitamins and herbs (such as echniaeca as we learned here at Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook) that can build the immune system to increase one’s body ability to fight off disease.

Many healthy people have contracted this disease. There is still much to learn about this disease. We hope these resources are helpful to you and arm you, your friends, family and colleagues during these times. Remember to share your experience with COVID wise with the community here. How has this article helped you and yours? How has COVID 19 impacted your and yours? How have you and yours responded to COVID 19? Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.