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Hacker jailed for blackmailing therapy patients

Hacker jailed for blackmailing therapy patients
Image via BBC

Cybercriminal Julius Kivimäki’s reign of terror came to an end as he was sentenced to six years and three months in prison for attempting to blackmail 33,000 people after stealing therapy notes from Finland’s largest psychotherapy company, Vastaamo. Kivimäki’s heinous act, which shocked Finland, involved hacking into Vastaamo’s databases and threatening to reveal patients’ confidential information unless paid a ransom.

The case, described as the biggest criminal case in Finnish history in terms of victims, has had devastating consequences, with at least one suicide linked to the breach. Despite maintaining his innocence, Kivimäki was found guilty on all counts, with the court condemning him for “ruthlessly taking advantage of another person’s special weakness.”

Victim Tiina Parikka expressed relief at Kivimäki’s conviction but raised concerns about the short sentence given the scale of the crime. Kivimäki, also known as Zeekill online, had a history of cybercrime dating back to his teenage years and was a member of multiple cyber gangs. Despite being arrested in 2013 and given a non-custodial sentence, he continued his criminal activities.

Police tracked Kivimäki down through a mistake he made, leading to his arrest in Paris under a fake identity. Digital forensics and cryptocurrency tracking played a crucial role in securing his conviction. Meanwhile, Vastaamo’s boss, Ville Tapio, was also convicted for failing to protect customer data and given a suspended three-month prison sentence.

The fallout from the hack resulted in Vastaamo’s collapse, once a highly regarded company in Finland. Civil court cases are expected to commence to compensate victims of the breach.

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