Hacker Charged With Extorting Online Psychotherapy Service

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A 25-year-old Finnish man has been charged with extorting a once popular and now-bankrupt online psychotherapy company and its patients. Finnish authorities rarely name suspects in an investigation, but they were willing to make an exception for Julius "Zeekill" Kivimaki, a notorious hacker who — at the tender age of 17 — had been convicted of more than 50,000 cybercrimes, including data breaches, payment fraud, operating botnets, and calling in bomb threats. In late October 2022, Kivimaki was charged (and arrested in absentia, according to the Finns) with attempting to extort money from the Vastaamo Psychotherapy Center. On October 21, 2020, Vastaamo became the target of blackmail when a tormentor identified as "ransom_man" demanded payment of 40 bitcoins (~450,000 euros at the time) in return for a promise not to publish highly sensitive therapy session notes Vastaamo had exposed online. In a series of posts over the ensuing days on a Finnish-language dark net discussion board, ransom_man said Vastaamo appeared unwilling to negotiate a payment, and that he would start publishing 100 patient profiles every 24 hours "to provide further incentive for the company to continue communicating with us." "We're not asking for much, approximately 450,000 euros which is less than 10 euros per patient and only a small fraction of the around 20 million yearly revenues of this company," ransom_man wrote. When Vastaamo declined to pay, ransom_man shifted to extorting individual…

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