SINGAPORE: Close to 20,000 patient records belonging to Malaysians were among millions of medical information freely accessible on computer servers worldwide, according to an investigation published on Monday (Sep 16).
Germany-based security firm Greenbone Networks had identified the problem in at least 52 countries, including Australia, China, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Russia and Brazil.
Personal data such as full names, dates of birth and dates of the medical examination were available online, along with images of X-ray, CT and MRI scans.
For Malaysia, 19,922 patient data records were publicly accessible from three archive systems, along with 1.2 million images associated with these records.
“The sum of these data leaks of unprotected patient data available on the Internet is one of the largest data glitches worldwide to date,” said the Greenbone report which was made available to CNA.
The report warned that the data could be exploited by attackers for various purposes, such as publishing names and images to harm a person’s reputation, and processing the personal data in preparation for identity theft.
Out of the 52 countries, United States topped the list with 13.7 million data sets and 45.8 million images compromised.
In the United Kingom, about 1,500 patient data records and 5,000 images were publicly accessible.
It is unclear how much of the data has now been safely sealed away by the various hospitals and other healthcare providers affected.
Singapore is not listed in the report.