Finland: blackmail with patients' data

In Finland, hackers have stolen the data of around 40,000 patients treated at the Psychotherapy Center Vastaamo. After Vastamoo refused to pay 450,000 euros as requested, hundreds of files were published online and in some cases made available for download. The blackmailers have also been contacting patients directly since the weekend and attempting to extort money from them directly.

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Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

Don't give crooks any leverage

The three editors-in-chief of Helsingin Sanomat, Antero Mukka, Kaius Niemi and Anu Ubaud, urge the Finns to resist the temptation to look at the hacked data:

“We appeal to everyone not to look at, disseminate or comment on data that has been obtained through criminal means and which is clearly private. ... Vastaamo's patients sought help and relied on the confidentiality of their therapy. We must not give in to the blackmailers. Together we can thwart their goals. At the same time, this is a good opportunity to update our understanding of mental health. There are difficult times in every life, and those who seek help need not be ashamed.”

Ilta-Sanomat (FI) /

Naive no more

Ilta-Sanomat hopes the data theft will mark a turning point:

“Finland was proud of its advanced digital technology. The frenzied pace, however, has left security gaps at companies and with private individuals, from which Finnish and foreign criminals now benefit. We must learn from the theft of Vastaamo's customer data and the suffering of innocent people. At least now, the days of naivety with regard to Internet data security are over.”