JERUSALEM, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Israeli researchers have shown how hackers can easily change cancer patients' CT and MRI scans, as reported Thursday by the southern Ben-Gurion University (BGU).
The researchers showed that hackers can access to add or remove medical conditions from lung cancer scans, thereby deceiving radiologists and artificial intelligence algorithms that diagnose malignant tumors.
The changes can be made for the purposes of insurance fraud, ransom and even murder.
As part of the attack, the hacker has full control over the number, size and location of the cancers while preserving the anatomy from the original, full resolution three-dimensional (3D) image.
To prove the feasibility of the attacks, the researchers broke with permission into an actual hospital network to intercept all CT (computed tomography) scans.
Although the hospital internal network is not connected to the internet, hackers can access it via the hospital's WiFi or physical access to the infrastructure, the researchers said.
To inject and remove medical conditions, the researchers used a deep learning neural network called a generative adversarial network (GAN), which have been used in the past to generate realistic imagery, such as portraits of non-existent people.
After the "attack," the radiologists at the hospital misdiagnosed 99 percent of the scans showing malignant tumors, and 94 percent of altered images with cancerous images removed.
After the radiologists were informed about the attack, they still misdiagnosing 60 percent of altered scans falsely showing tumors and 87 percent of those falsely showing no sign of tumor.
The researchers suggested several solutions, such as enabling encryption between the hosts in the hospital's radiology network, digitally signatures with a secure mark on each scan or hidden digital watermarks.