40,000 Finns Facing Potential Virtual Blackmail

Another successful hack has left the confidential information of thousands exposed to bad actors. This time, the attack affected the medical records of thousands of psychotherapy patients in Finland.

The bad actors behind the cyber attack were able to access and steal confidential information and records concerning psychotherapy sessions of patients from Finland. The stolen information contains victims' social security numbers and their real addresses. The disclosure was made by a privately owned psychotherapy institution in Finland's.

Thankfully, the records do not contain specific topics of discussion with the affected patients, but they do contain certain information that is considered sensitive.

A portion of the medical records have already been leaked on the dark web. Finnish authorities are currently trying to get in touch with people affected by the cyber attack, who have already become targets of blackmail.

The total number of patient records that used psychotherapy services at the center is around 40,000 and the authorities believe that the people who can potentially become targets of blackmail attempts will rise significantly and might reach tens of thousands.

The blackmail received by some victims include demands for Bitcoin payments. Of course, police are advising everyone affected not to cooperate and give in to those demands and simply forward the e-mails to the authorities, together with a police report.

This is, of course, the only logical course of action, as there is no guarantee that the hackers will not leak and resell the information anyway, even if their demands are met.

The security issues at the Finnish psychotherapy institution date back to late 2018, when records were first accessed by bad actors. The company operating the center took drastic measures and fired its CEO after it became clear that he had covered up a data breach in the past.

Various Finnish authorities and institutions have set up a dedicated website, to help anyone affected by the data breach and blackmail cope with the situation they find themselves in.

Similar incidents serve to underline the significance of digital security and the serious real-life implications a data breach can have, especially when information this sensitive is being leaked.

November 2, 2020

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