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Charges Filed in Vastaamo Data Breach Case

Updated on 2022-11-03: Charges Filed in Vastaamo Data Breach Case

Finnish police have charged one individual for his alleged role in a data breach that exposed sensitive personal information of patients receiving mental health treatment from the Vastaamo Psychotherapy Center. When Vastaamo refused to pay a ransom for the stolen information in 2020, the thief began attempting to extort payment from the patients. Julius “Zeekill” Kivimaki was charged and “arrested in absentia.”


  • An interesting twist on a standard ransomware attack—eliciting payment from individuals whose patient records were exposed during the cyber breach. Two points to make: 1) Even attackers make mistakes. In this case, poor OPSEC practices led police investigators to identify the perpetrator. 2) Every business has a responsibility for establishing basic cyber hygiene practices. That includes ensuring administrator accounts are password protected and audit logs are routinely monitored for signs of cyberattack.
  • The big break came when Kivimaki published data from the breach which included his home folder, SSH keys, known-hosts and other big clues to who he was. While the Finns don’t typically reveal this level of detail about suspects, the information revealed is strengthening cases for him to be imprisoned indefinitely. Vastaamo, while groundbreaking in enabling mental health services which were mostly covered by insurance with more than tolerable wait times, was dependent on a MySQL database which was Internet accessible with a blank Administrator password. Make sure that your security scanning is looking for this type of scenario, and that you are performing application security scans on a regular basis.


Overview: Vastaamo hacker

Finnish authorities have “arrested in absentia” and issued a European arrest warrant in the name of a 25-year-old Finnish citizen on suspicion of orchestrating the hack of the Vastaamo Psychotherapy Center. The Vastaamo incident, considered one of the worst in the country’s history, took place in 2018 when a hacker stole the personal medical records of the clinic’s patients and attempted to extort the healthcare provider. To put pressure on the company, the hacker leaked some of the medical files on the dark web. When that failed, the hacker sent smaller ransom demands to more than 30,000 of the clinic’s patients, asking for €200 and threatening to publish their medical records. Read more:

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