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Thursday’s papers: Cybersecurity reforms, 15,000 criminal reports and Finns loving lockdown life

The Vastaamo data breach debacle continues to dominate the press in Finland.

Sanna Marin Säätytalon portailla 23. lokakuuta.
The government aims to set up all information and cybersecurity issues under a single ministry in the future, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Wednesday. Image: Petteri Bülow / Yle

Finland wants to improve cybersecurity in Finland in the wake of the Vastaamo psychotherapy centre data breach, daily Helsingin Sanomat reported.

The government aims to handle all information and cybersecurity issues under a single ministry in the future, Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) told reporters after ministers met for an evening session on Wednesday.

"Currently it is spread across several branches of government. In situations like this, we see how troublesome it is that we have it divided in several different directions," Marin said.

At the moment, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Finance are addressing the Vastaamo situation.

Marin said Finland needs to look into making changes in legislation and governance to make such cases preventable in the future.

She also said victims should receive swift justice and all the help and support they need. According to Marin, officials are now looking at whether the victim of a data breach could change his or her personal identification number.

"We will see whether there is an opportunity to act more quickly here or whether we will have to wait for comprehensive reform. Personally, I hope we can move faster," Marin said.

The 'iltakoulu' evening sessions are informal meetings convened by the prime minister to discuss, plan and outline official matters. In addition to the cabinet ministers, parliamentary group chairs also attend these sessions.

15,000 criminal reports filed against Vastaamo

Meanwhile, about 15,000 criminal reports have been filed against psychotherapy centre Vastaamo, according to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

"I don't have an exact number, but I could say that there are now about 15,000 of them. The number is already starting to be quite huge," NBI’s criminal detective Pentti Kangasniemi said.

The criminal charges under investigation are currently aggravated hacking, aggravated extortion and aggravated invasion of privacy, Tampere daily Aamulehti reported.

Kangasniemi revealed it has not yet come to the Bureau’s attention if any of the victims of extortion have paid the ransom. He stressed that no one should comply with the blackmailer’s demands.

Vastaamo’s own operations and information security compliance will also be investigated, but this is not the number one priority of the investigation now, according to Kangasniemi.

"The focus now is on identifying and capturing the perpetrator (of hacking) and, if possible, preventing the dissemination of material," Kangasniemi said.

Finns happy with lockdown life

Finns tolerated coronavirus restrictions the best compared to residents of other European countries, according to a recently published Eurobarometer survey.

As many as 73 percent of the Finns who responded to the survey felt that it was very or fairly easy to live with restrictions imposed during springtime, tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reported.

Of these, 23 per cent thought the restrictions even improved their daily quality of life.

On the other end of the spectrum was Portugal, where 62 percent felt it was difficult or very difficult to adapt to restrictions. In Finland, where restrictions were much lighter, only five percent of people experienced this difficulty.

In addition to Portugal, the Italians and the Greeks found the springtime restrictions particularly challenging.

Along with Finland, Netherlands, Estonia and Latvia too found it easy to deal with the restrictions, the survey revealed.

The Eurobarometer survey that studies public opinion in the European Union was conducted in July – August.

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