Not every hacker on the planet is a callous basement dweller. Many are actually using their skills to make the world a better place, securing our favorite websites and vital infrastructures—not to mention all those tiny internet devices with cameras and microphones we’ve idiotically placed throughout our homes where we eat, sleep, and do yoga in the nude.
Alas, this is not a story about those unsung heroes.
Asshole hackers with no compunction have published more than 25,000 photographs of patients at a Lithuanian cosmetic surgery clinic, the Guardian reports, after the clinic refused to pay out 300 bitcoins (currently worth nearly $700,000) in ransom earlier this year.
The Grozio Chirurgija clinic, which says the hackers are now blackmailing its patients directly via text messages, told local media that its patients were in shock. “Once again, I would like to apologize,” said Jonas Staikunas, the clinic director. “Cybercriminals are blackmailers.”
This leak is particularly egregious because many of the patients were photographed in the nude prior to and following their procedures.
The victims reportedly hail from more than 60 countries, mostly European; more than 1,500 reside in the UK alone, according to the British newspaper. The leaked documents also include a variety of protected personal information, including passport scans and other sensitive medical data, leaving the victims at further risk of identity theft and extortion.
The devastating Lithuanian leak arrives in the wake of the viral WannaCry incident, which infected tens of thousands of Windows servers across the world, including those at more than a dozen hospitals in the London area. Many patients seeking emergency medical care had to be rerouted to other local hospitals due to the disruption.
Unfortunately, as medical records are considered among the most sensitive type of data, it is likely to remain a primary target of these soulless internet brigands for the foreseeable future.