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Cybercriminals Extort Psychotherapy Patients Following Vastaamo Breach

An attacker is running a Tor site to leak the session notes of 300 patients at Vastaamo, a Finnish psychotherapy facility.

Dark Reading Staff

October 27, 2020

2 Min Read

Cybercriminals behind a data breach at Finnish psychotherapy facility Vastaamo have begun to blackmail patients hundreds of euros and threaten to publish their personal health data online.

Vastaamo, which has branches throughout Finland, said in a statement its systems were likely hacked between the end of November 2018 and March 2019, ABC News reports. It's so far unknown why the attackers kept quiet until September 2020, when they allegedly demanded a ransom of about €450,000 ($531,412). They claimed to have accessed 40,000 Vastaamo patient records.

Attackers published 300 patient records, which contain therapist session notes, to a website they run on Tor. Vastaamo, as well as some of these victims, report they are now demanding ransom of €200 ($236.20) to keep their information private. If the victim doesn't pay within 24 hours, the ransom amount increases to €500 ($590.45). 

"This is a very sad case for the victims, some of which are underage," wrote Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure, a cybersecurity firm based in Finland, in a tweet. "The attacker has no shame." He notes the attacker calls themselves "ransom_man." 

It's unclear who is behind this attack or the extent of information they stole. This incident and the blackmailing of Vastaamo patients prompted Finnish Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo to call an emergency meeting of key Cabinet members this weekend.

Read more details here.

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Dark Reading Staff

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