Young Finnish man detained in absentia over data breach at Vastaamo
The Vastaamo psychotherapy clinic hack and extortion attempt in Finland, first disclosed in 2020, remains one of the most sensitive and disturbing breaches DataBreaches has ever covered. Past news items about it can be found here. Now there is an update. Aleksi Teivainen of Helsinki Times reports:
The District Court of Helsinki on Friday detained a 25-year-old man in absentia on suspicion of breaking into the patient register of Psychotherapy Centre Vastaamo.
The Finnish man is suspected of aggravated computer break-in, attempted aggravated extortion and aggravated dissemination of information violating personal privacy. Investigators at the National Bureau of Investigation (KRP) are also looking into his possible ties to extorting and disseminating information on victims of the hacking.
Read more at Helsinki Times.
The English version of the police press release:
One arrested in absentia in connection with Vastaamo’s data breach
The Central Criminal Police has made progress in the investigation of the data breach targeting the Psychotherapy Center Vastaamo. In the preliminary investigation, a 25-year-old Finnish man has been arrested in absentia and wanted, whom the police suspect of the data breach targeting Vastaamo. A European arrest warrant has been issued for the person.
Helsinki District Court is on Thursday 27 October. arrested one person in absentia with probable cause on suspicion of felony data breach, felony attempted extortion, and felony dissemination of information in violation of private life. The Central Criminal Police demanded an arrest in connection with the preliminary investigation of the data breach targeting the Psychotherapy Center Vastaamo, which the police first announced in October 2020.
The police know that the suspect is currently staying abroad, which is why he was arrested in absentia. A European arrest warrant has been issued for the person, under which he can be arrested abroad. After the arrest, the police request the extradition of the suspect to Finland. An Interpol international wanted notice will also be issued for the suspect. The suspect is a 25-year-old Finnish citizen.
The police have made significant progress in the investigation. This point has been reached with long-term and careful work. In the preliminary investigation, there has been close cooperation between both police departments and other authorities in Finland and internationally. It is still too early to estimate the time when the preliminary investigation can be considered for charges, says the head of the investigation, crime commissioner Marko Leponen from the Central Criminal Police.
The preliminary investigation is still ongoing. The police are also investigating the connection of the person suspected of the data breach to the extortion of the victims of the data breach and the dissemination of information.
Victims are reminded to report a crime and fill out an electronic statement form
About 22,000 interested parties have filed a criminal complaint with the police in connection with the case. Due to the exceptionally large number of victims, the hearings of the interested parties are carried out electronically. The police has only received about 6,400 electronic statements.
We urge all victims to file a criminal complaint and those who filed a criminal complaint to give an electronic statement. It’s worth filling out the statement form, because that way you stay involved in the criminal process and get the opportunity to present your claims in the case, says Leponen.
According to the police’s estimate, around 10,000 victims have not filed a criminal report. The police urges you to file a criminal complaint if your personal information has been leaked online or you have received a blackmail message related to the data breach of Vastaamo Psychotherapy Centre. Interested parties who have filed a criminal report can fill out the declaration form on their own through the police’s electronic transaction platform. You can find instructions for filing a criminal report and an electronic statement on the police’s website.