A pandemic of inaccurate diagnostic results could jeopardize medicine as we know it. This reality is closer than we might think, and it comes with an avalanche of frightening implications.

Researchers from Ben Gurion University discovered that malware has the capability to generate novel findings in imaging software used by radiologists. Upon testing whether or not trained, established radiologists could differentiate between real and fraudulently manipulated scans, the Ben Gurion researchers learned that the differences between the two scans are imperceptible; the radiologists were fooled into diagnosing cancer in 99% of test cases.

The malware can be disseminated over the internet, as soon as a threat actor hacks into a hospital’s network. After a threat actor loads the malware onto a network, the malware automatically and aggressively seeks scans to manipulate.

Experts report that installing end-to-end PACS encryption is the way to go in safeguarding against one of these attacks. However, some hospitals do not have the resources –financial and technical- to upgrade their systems, leaving medical professionals’ reputations and patients’ lives on the line.

Get the full story at The Washington Post.