Anguished patients enlisted mass support services over the weekend, when the Finnish police revealed that hackers had accessed the private company’s files Answering room, which runs 25 therapy centers across the country.
Thousands of people filed complaints, police said. Many patients reported having received e-mails demanding 200 euros (approximately R $ 1,300) in bitcoins to prevent the content of their sessions with therapists from being published.
Faced with what she described as a “very serious violation”, the Interior Minister, Maria Ohisalo, asked the population on Monday (26) to be sure to turn to mental health services in this country of 5.5 million inhabitants, one of the most affected in Europe for psychological reasons.
According to OECD data, about one in five Finns suffers from psychological problems.
The Finnish government will hold a crisis meeting this week after the unprecedented cyber attack.
“We are investigating an aggravated security attack and extortion, among other charges,” said Robin Lardot, ahead of the judicial police, during a press conference on Sunday.
The number of compromised files would be in the tens of thousands, according to Lardot.
Vastaamo announced on Monday afternoon (26) that it had fired its CEO, Ville Tapio, following the findings of an internal investigation that revealed that Tapio had concealed a company data breach in the past year.
The group recognized flaws in the security of its customers’ data, “which allowed criminals to enter the database until March 2019,” Vastaamo said in a statement.
According to security experts, a 10-gigabyte data file with private notes between at least 2,000 patients and their therapists circulated on pages of the so-called “dark web”.
This leak, which affected vulnerable people in society – including children – caused great commotion in the country.
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