Security researchers and experts have revealed that thousands of different medical devices are vulnerable to hackers, who could then take control of the machines or steal patient information. The study showed that many instruments in hospitals, such as radiology devices or MRI scanners, were at risk of attack.

Using specialist search engines to look for devices that are connected to the internet, a pair of researchers were able to access details of more than 68,000 vulnerable systems across a range of health groups and manufacturers. They also demonstrated that hackers are actively trying to infiltrate medical systems using a honeypot trap to see how many attacks it would be subjected to.

Medical devices should not be available on the public internet. They should be behind multiple layers of protection,” said security researcher Ken Munro. “Based on their research, we can see that hackers will have a go at devices that are clearly critical medical systems. That is scary, if unsurprising. What is even scarier is that the research shows that some medical devices have already been compromised.”