Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The medical records of more than 5 million Americans and even more people globally — including X-rays, MRIs and CT scans — are vulnerable targets to even the simplest cybersecurity threats, ProPublica and German broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk found.

Why it matters: Because of the sensitivity of some of these records, patients face potential devastation if their images are hacked.

  • "Medical knowledge can be used against you in malicious ways: to shame people, to blackmail people," Cooper Quintin, a security researcher and senior staff technologist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ProPublica. "This is so utterly irresponsible."
  • In some cases, a free software program or basic lines of computer code could access images and private data.

What they found:

  • More than 13.7 million medical tests in the U.S. were available online, including more than 400,000 from X-rays and other images that could be downloaded.
  • Large hospital chains and academic medical centers seemed to have better protections in place. Most of the cases of unprotected data the report found involved "independent radiologists, medical imaging centers or archiving services."

The bottom line: Patient data obtained by the health care industry has systemically had problems with hacking ever since it switched from analog to digital technology, including those stemming from basic human error or systems with known security weaknesses.

Go deeper: The pitfalls of electronic health records

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Facebook boycott organizers share details on their Zuckerberg meeting

Facebook is in the midst of the largest ad boycott in its history, with nearly 1,000 brands having stopped paid advertising in July because they feel Facebook hasn't done enough to remove hate speech from its namesake app and Instagram.

Axios Re:Cap spoke with the boycott's four main organizers, who met on Tuesday with CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other top Facebook executives, to learn why they organized the boycott, what they took from the meeting, and what comes next.

Boycott organizers slam Facebook following tense virtual meeting

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Civil rights leaders blasted Facebook's top executives shortly after speaking with them on Tuesday, saying that the tech giant's leaders "failed to meet the moment" and were "more interested in having a dialogue than producing outcomes."

Why it matters: The likely fallout from the meeting is that the growing boycott of Facebook's advertising platform, which has reached nearly 1000 companies in less than a month, will extend longer than previously anticipated, deepening Facebook's public relations nightmare.

Steve Scalise PAC invites donors to fundraiser at Disney World

Photo: Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise’s PAC is inviting lobbyists to attend a four-day “Summer Meeting” at Disney World's Polynesian Village in Florida, all but daring donors to swallow their concern about coronavirus and contribute $10,000 to his leadership PAC.

Why it matters: Scalise appears to be the first House lawmakers to host an in-person destination fundraiser since the severity of pandemic became clear. The invite for the “Summer Meeting” for the Scalise Leadership Fund, obtained by Axios, makes no mention of COVID-19.