Unless they are anonymized or non-medical, DICOM files usually include very sensitive information about the patient (name, age, ID number, birth date, weight, etc.) and contain the medical image, which itself is of an extremely sensitive nature. Special care must be taken to ensure that this information stays private and is not susceptible to unauthorized access. Before taking any further actions, make sure that you are authorized to view and store specific DICOM files on your machine.
When you store DICOM files on your computer:
• Apply physical security measures (locks, security alarms, monitoring, etc.) to prevent unauthorized persons from accessing your computer that stores DICOM files.
• Use full disk encryption (e.g., Microsoft BitLocker) with a strong password to render data unreadable even if an unauthorized person were to gain access to your computer.
• Use firewall and antivirus software to prevent intrusion and to detect infected files that might compromise the security of your computer, and thereby enable unauthorized file access.
• Protect access to your Windows account with a strong password. Use a minimum length of 8 or more characters. Include different types of characters: numbers, symbols, capital letters, and lower-case letters.
• Log off or power off when leaving your computer unattended.
• Delete the DICOM files from your computer when they are no longer necessary.
When you search and download studies from PACS locations, keep in mind:
• The PACS client module that you use to search for and download studies (DICOM files) communicates over unencrypted TCP connections. Make sure the network connection is secure and there is no possibility for an unauthorized user to eavesdrop on the data.
• On less secure networks, or when two networks are connected through WAN, the data transfer must be made private. Set up VPN tunnel (e.g., IPsec IKEv2, OpenVPN) to encrypt the connection between the PC where RadiAnt DICOM Viewer is installed and the other PACS location.
• The same security rules apply to any computer on which RadiAnt DICOM Viewer is installed and the PACS connection is configured. This way, unauthorized persons can be prevented from searching and downloading studies from configured PACS locations.