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President Niinistö: "This affects all of us"

Thousands of victims of the psychotherapy centre data breach have filed criminal reports, police said on Sunday.

Kuvassa on Sauli Niinistö.
President Sauli Niinistö emphasised the importance of cyber security, data protection and citizen responsibility. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

President Sauli Niinistö said on Sunday a recent psychotherapy centre data breach is an especially cruel crime.

"This affects all of us," Niinistö said.

"Data is continually gathered from all of us across different platforms. It also affects us as we all have our own inner self that we want to protect. Now it's hurt."

According to Niinistö, the crime illustrates the importance of cybersecurity and data protection. He also said people should act responsibly when they encounter criminally-obtained information and that they should refrain from sharing or viewing it.

Thousands of criminal reports filed

Thousands of victims of the data breach have filed criminal reports, Director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Robin Lardot said at a press conference on Sunday.

According to Lardot, while there is no precise information on the quantity of patient data that has been leaked, there could be tens of thousands of victims.

Lardot assured victims that the authorities are doing their best to prevent sensitive material from spreading. He said the agency will share further instructions on how to handle the situation.

"I can assure you that we will do our best to hold the criminals accountable. We are investigating an aggravated security breach and aggravated extortion among other counts," Lardot said.

Victims of the data breach can seek help from various crisis helplines and take steps recommended by the National Cyber Security Centre to help minimise the damage.

F-Secure: Unprecedented case

The Vastaamo case is a "highly unusual blackmail case", according to Mikko Hyppönen, Chief Research Officer at data security company F-Secure.

"The attacker calls himself ’ransom_man’, and is running a Tor site on which he has already leaked the therapist session notes of 300 patients. This is a very sad case for the victims, some of whom are underage. The attacker has no shame," Hyppönen tweeted.

He said he is only aware of only one other patient blackmail case that would be even remotely similar — an incident involving the Center for Facial Restoration in Florida in 2019.

"This was a different medical area and had a smaller number of victims, but the basic idea was the same," he tweeted sharing a link detailing the incident.

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