The privacy concerns metastasize

Whenever you think you’ve conjured up all the worst-case scenarios with computer viruses, malignant PC attacks and such, along comes another even more alarming potential attack.  Here’s a Washington Post article, in their technology section.  Kim Zetter writes:

“When Hillary Clinton stumbled and coughed through public appearances during her 2016 presidential run, she faced critics who said that she might not be well enough to perform the top job in the country. To quell rumors about her medical condition, her doctor revealed that a CT scan of her lungs showed that she just had pneumonia.

But what if the scan had shown faked cancerous nodules, placed there by malware exploiting vulnerabilities in widely used CT and MRI scanning equipment? Researchers in Israel say they have developed such malware to draw attention to serious security weaknesses in critical medical imaging equipment used for diagnosing conditions and the networks that transmit those images — vulnerabilities that could have potentially life-altering consequences if unaddressed.

The malware they created would let attackers automatically add realistic, malignant-seeming growths to CT or MRI scans before radiologists and doctors examine them. Or it could remove real cancerous nodules and lesions without detection, leading to misdiagnosis and possibly a failure to treat patients who need critical and timely care.”

All I can say is I’m glad I read this article today and not last week when I received a breast biopsy report with good news,  from my radiologist.  The potential for, dare I say, “malignant” actors to invade people’s privacy and cause egregious harm here boggles my mind.

With the privacy concerns continually metastasizing (sorry, I couldn’t help myself here), in many ways, I think we were all a bit safer and our personal privacy was more secure before the world became interconnected.

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