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Maharashtra tops list of States hit by global medical data leak

Topics Covered: Cyber security related issues.

Maharashtra tops list of States hit by global medical data leak

What to study?

For Prelims: Key findings.

For Mains: Concerns, challenges and preparedness.

Context: Greenbone Sustainable Resilience, a German cybersecurity firm, has published a report on medical data leak. This is the second report.

Key findings:

  1. Medical details of over 120 million Indian patients have been leaked and made freely available on the Internet.
  2. Leaks include a massive number of records, including images of CT scans, X-rays, MRIs and even pictures of the patients.
  3. The report also places Maharashtra at the top of the States affected by the leak. Followed by Karnataka.

Ranking of the countries:

This is the second edition of the report and it classifies countries in the “good”, “bad” and “ugly” categories based on the action taken by their governments after the first report was made public. India ranks second in the “ugly” category, after the U.S.

Concerns:

  • The leak is worrying because the affected patients can include anyone from the common working man to politicians and celebrities. In image-driven fields like politics or entertainment, knowledge about certain ailments faced by people from these fields could deal a huge blow to their image.
  • The other concern is of fake identities being created using the details, which can be misused in any possible number of ways.

Issues to be addressed:

The report says the leak was facilitated by the fact that the Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS) servers, where these details are stored, are not secure and linked to the public Internet without any protection, making them easily accessible to malicious elements.

Why maintain privacy?

Any communication between a doctor and a patient is privileged one. A doctor or a hospital is thus ethically, legally and morally bound to maintain confidentiality.

Sources: the Hindu.