Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Securing Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) Cybersecurity for the Healthcare Sector



Jennifer L. Cawthra, Sue S. Wang, Bronwyn J. Hodges, Kangmin Zheng, Ryan T. Williams, Jason J. Kuruvilla, Christopher L. Peloquin, Kevin Littlefield, Bob Neimeyer


Medical imaging plays an important role in diagnosing and treating patients. The system that manages medical images is known as the picture archiving communication system (PACS) and is nearly ubiquitous in healthcare environments. PACS is defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a Class II device that “provides one or more capabilities relating to the acceptance, transfer, display, storage, and digital processing of medical images.” PACS centralizes functions surrounding medical imaging workflows and serves as an authoritative repository of medical image information.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 1800-24
Report Number


access control, auditing, authentication, authorization, behavioral analytics, cloud storage, DICOM, EHR, electronic health records, encryption, microsegmentation, multifactor authentication, PACS, PAM, picture archiving and communication system, privileged account management, vendor neutral archive, VNA


Cawthra, J. , Wang, S. , Hodges, B. , Zheng, K. , Williams, R. , Kuruvilla, J. , Peloquin, C. , Littlefield, K. and Neimeyer, B. (2020), Securing Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) Cybersecurity for the Healthcare Sector, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 12, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created December 20, 2020, Updated May 4, 2021