NBI make "significant progress" in Vastaamo data breach, blackmail probe

The NBI is following leads outside of Europe and has ruled out several suspects in the data breach.

Because of the unusually large number of victims, those who have filed criminal reports will need make their full statements in writing, on a form to be filed with police electronically. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

The National Bureau of Investigation announced on Wednesday that it has made significant progress in its probe of the massive data breach at psychotherapy centre Vastaamo.

In October 2020, the privately-run centre announced that the sensitive information of about 30,000 patients had been stolen by hackers who then tried to extort money from the company and its customers. Information entered into their system after 2018 had not been compromised.

At a press conference on October 27, investigation director Marko Leponen said the NBI was following leads outside of Europe and that the agency has ruled out several suspects. No arrests have been made, but Leponen said he thinks the crime can still be solved.

"New clues are constantly being discovered and we are on the right trail. At some point, the suspect or suspects will get caught, but I can’t speculate if this will happen next week or a year from now," Leponen said.

Victims able to file statements electronically

Because of the unusually large number of victims, those who have filed criminal reports will need to make their full statements in writing, on a form to be filed with police electronically.

The form will be available on the police's website starting on Wednesday October 27 at 4pm and victims will be able to file their statements until the end of January 2022.

Police noted that without first filing a criminal report, victims cannot be heard in the matter.

"The goal is to make the electronic statement easy to complete, and thus be heard. The form is located on the police's own platform, making it safe to submit. It is worth filling out the form, because this way you stay involved in the process and get an opportunity to make a claim in the matter," Leponen says.

For security reasons, the police will not send invitations or links to the parties involved. Should one receive a message sent on behalf of the police or a link to fill out a form regarding the matter, it is not authentic and the link in the message should not be opened, police warned.

The law enforcement agency also urged those involved to go directly to their website by typing www.poliisi.fi and not through search engines or links, to avoid being misdirected.