KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18— Medical records of millions of patients around the world, including that of almost 20,000 Malaysians are freely available on the internet, and accessible from any computer servers in the world, Channel News Asia (CNA) reported today.
It said that 19,922 Malaysian patients’ data records were publicly accessible from three archive systems, alongside a staggering 1.2 million images linked to the records.
Citing a German security firm’s report published on Monday, the report said that the firm — Greenbone Networks, had also detected similar problems in at least 52 nations, namely, Australia, China, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, the US, Russia and Brazil.
CNA reported that personal information such as a patient’s full name, date of birth and medical examinations dates, as well as images of X-ray, CT and MRI scans were all available online.
“The sum of these data leaks of unprotected patient data available on the Internet is one of the largest data glitches worldwide to date,” CNA reported, citing the firm’s report which was made available to the Singapore-based broadcaster.
CNA said that Greenbone’s report warned about the risks of such intimate data being exploited by attackers for various purposes, such as publishing names and images to harm a person’s reputation, and even processing their personal information 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 Kingdom, about 1,500 patient data records and 5,000 images were publicly accessible,” CNA reported, adding that it is also not clear as to how much of the data has now been sealed away by hospitals and healthcare providers, whose databases have been leaked.
CNA said that Singapore is not listed in the report of affected countries.