Hackers, who broke into the IT network of a large cosmetic surgery chain and stole data, are now threatening to publish the data which includes patients’ before and after photos.
The ransomware attack has been confirmed by the Hospital Group of the United Kingdom which has a long list of celebrity endorsements. The Information Commissioner has been informed of the breach, it said.
The “intimate photos of customers” were “not a completely pleasant sight”, said the hacker group known as REvil on its darknet webpage.
The hackers claimed they had stolen patient data worth about 900 gigabytes.
Also known as the Transform Hospital Group, the Hospital Group claims to be the leader in the UK of being a specialist in weight loss and cosmetic surgery. Bariatric weight loss surgery, breast enlargements, nipple corrections and nose adjustments are the specialised services that the Group provides through a network of 11 clinics.
Previously, celebrity endorsements were used by the company for promotions even though it has not done in recent years.
Former Big Brother contestant Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace told about her breast enhancement surgery with The Hospital Group in 2009 in an interview to the Zoo magazine. Previous patients who have endorsed the clinic also include the likes of Atomic Kitten singer Kerry Katona, Shameless actress Tina Malone and reality TV star Joey Essex from The Only Way is Essex.
“We can confirm that our IT systems have been subject to a data security breach. None of our patients’ payment card details have been compromised but at this stage, we understand that some of our patients’ personal data may have been accessed,” The Hospital Group said in a statement.
All its customers have been informed about the cyber-attack over email, the company said and added that individuals whose more personal details may have been stolen by the hackers will be contacted by it.
It is believed that patients’ faces will not be included in many of the before and after pictures of patients.
According to a report about the incident published by BBC, one customer of the company expressed concerns about his pictures and data is now in the hands of the hackers.
A chest reduction surgery was done on Simon Hails at The Hospital Group. The company had not told him about the ransom, he said.
“I have had an email from The Hospital Group informing me of a ‘data security incident’ but no detail as to what has been hacked,” he told the BBC. “I’m obviously concerned as the last thing I want is ‘before photos’ being splattered around in the public domain. I’ve tried to keep my surgery private and not even some of my friends and colleagues know about it, so the data breach is concerning for me.”
One of the most used forms of cyber-attacks is ransomware. This form of ayyack involves hackers gaining access to an IT network of a company and or even the personal computer of an individual and then they either encrypt files or lock users from accessing their systems – which is only granted after a ransom is paid.
(Adapted from BBC.com)