Information security has become a focal topic in the information and digital age. How to realize secure transmission and the secure storage of image data is a major research focus of information security. Aiming at this hot topic, in order to improve the security of image data transmission, this paper proposes an image encryption algorithm based on improved Arnold transform and a chaotic pulse-coupled neural network. Firstly, the oscillatory reset voltage is introduced into the uncoupled impulse neural network, which makes the uncoupled impulse neural network exhibit chaotic characteristics. The chaotic sequence is generated by multiple iterations of the chaotic pulse-coupled neural network, and then the image is pre-encrypted by XOR operation with the generated chaotic sequence. Secondly, using the improved Arnold transform, the pre-encrypted image is scrambled to further improve the scrambling degree and encryption effect of the pre-encrypted image so as to obtain the final ciphertext image. Finally, the security analysis and experimental simulation of the encrypted image are carried out. The results of quantitative evaluation show that the proposed algorithm has a better encryption effect than the partial encryption algorithm. The algorithm is highly sensitive to keys and plaintexts, has a large key space, and can effectively resist differential attacks and attacks such as noise and clipping.