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HHS warns health systems of PACS security vulnerabilities

Healthcare IT News

Mike Miliard

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is warning hospitals and health systems that a security vulnerability in picture archive communication systems, first discovered two years ago, is a problem that needs fixing now.

In 2019, cyber researchers found a flaw in some PACS that, if exploited, could expose patient data, or put networks at risk of malware according to the alert from HHS' Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center, or HC3.

"These systems, which can be easily identified and compromised by hackers over the Internet, can provide unauthorized access and expose patient records," officials warned. "There continues to be several unpatched PACS servers visible and HC3 is recommending entities patch their systems immediately. Healthcare organizations are advised to review their inventory to determine if they are running any PACS systems and if so, ensure the guidance in this alert is followed."

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