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After breaking into Finnish psychiatric clinic, criminals try to extort patients


Finland is facing a controversial crisis related to the security of its citizens’ sensitive data. As recently revealed by the local press in the Nordic country, cyber criminals would have invaded the systems of the Vastaamo Psychotherapy Center – one of the main psychiatric clinics in the region – and hijacked its database containing personal information of at least 40 thousand patients.

According to Finnish newspapers, the attack occurred in November 2018 and repeated in March 2019; however, the invaders would have remained “silent” until now, when they decided to request a ransom of 450 thousand euros in cryptocurrencies not to use clinical records for malicious purposes. With Vastaamo’s apparent refusal, the scammers released data on 300 victims on a website operated within the Tor network.

Other patients say they are being victims of extortion attempts, being contacted by the malicious agents with the option of paying 200 euros (R $ 1,300 in the current currency quote) to keep their psychiatric notes private. If the individual does not make the payment within the first 24 hours, the amount increases to 500 euros (about R $ 3,300). The attacker identifies himself simply as “ranson_man”.

According to the Helsinki Times, Ville Tapio, Vastaamo’s executive chairman, was removed from his activities on Monday (26). Board members guarantee that he had known about the attacks for 18 months and took no steps to try to protect the data or at least alert patients to imminent risks. Because of the extent of the incident, members of the Finnish government are meeting to discuss action plans.

Source: Dark Reading, Helsinki Times

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