A Hacker Is Trying to Blackmail Patients in Finland
Luis Alvarez recently sat down with Ask The Experts to discuss a hacker blackmail scheme rocking Finland. According to news reports, hackers are blackmailing thousands of patients in Finland. The hackers got the victims’ medical records by hacking into their therapy session information. They then contacted the patients and threatened to expose their medical histories to the world, which could cause concern for potential embarrassment if they don’t pay up.
“In the past, hackers would blackmail the hospital or doctors,” says Alvarez. “This is a new kind of cybersecurity blackmail case we haven’t seen before.”
One reason hackers are choosing to blackmail patients directly is that this method brings in more money. “The real money is to be made in smaller amounts,” says Alvarez. Hackers can go after thousands of individuals instead of one entity, which brings their total into the millions upon millions of dollars.
Hackers know that ransomware protection is no longer effective in preventing these types of crimes. In fact, hackers found a way around ransomware protection by stealing data, encrypting it, and then blackmailing the agency to decrypt it and get it back.
“This is scary for any big company with sensitive data,” says Alvarez. He urges consumers to protect their data by asking questions of their doctors, dentists, lawyers, and CPAs. For example, ask how they protect your data. If they can’t give a clear answer, they’re probably not doing much. Furthermore, companies that have a data breach lose all their credibility. Many will not be able to get past something like that, which should be enough reason to protect that sensitive data. In fact, according to Alvarez, this could be a new type of medical malpractice.
“We can never do too much for cybersecurity,” Alvarez goes on to say. And he’s right. Considering the financial reward of cybercrime, we all must do our due diligence to keep our data out of the wrong hands. To learn more about this topic, listen to the interview with Luis Alvarez on Tech Talk here.