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NHS pagers are leaking medical data

An amateur radio rig exposed to the internet and discovered by a security researcher was collecting real-time of medical data and health information broadcast by hospitals and ambulances across U.K. towns and cities.
The rig, operated out of a house in North London, was picking up radio waves from over the air and translating them into readable text. The hobbyist’s computer display was filling up with messages about real-time medical emergencies from across the region. For some reason, the hobbyist had set up an internet-connected webcam pointed at the display. But because there was no password on the webcam, anyone who knew where to look could also see what was on the rig’s computer display.
Daley Borda, a security researcher and bug bounty hunter, was at home in Florida when he stumbled upon the exposed webcam. The live stream was grainy, and the quality of the images so poor that it was just possible to make out the text on the display.
“You can see details of calls coming in — their name, address, and injury,” he told TechCrunch.
TechCrunch verified his findings. Messages spilling across the screen appeared to direct nearby ambulances where to go following calls to the 999 emergency services.
One message said a 98-year-old man had fallen at his home address. A few moments later, another message said 49-year-old male was complaining of chest pains at a nearby residence. One after the other, messages were flooding in, describing accidents, incidents, medical emergencies, often including their home addresses.
NHS pagers are leaking medical data
Several screenshots of the amateur radio decoding software, revealing unencrypted pager messages from nearby NHS trusts. (Image: TechCrunch)
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