Cybercrime , Fraud Management & Cybercrime

Vastaamo Hacker Disappears Amid Ongoing Trial

Aleksanteri Kivimaki Vanished After the Court Ordered His Reconfinement
Vastaamo Hacker Disappears Amid Ongoing Trial

A Finnish hacker on trial for his alleged role in the hack and leak of mental patient notes taken during psychotherapy sessions has disappeared.

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Aleksanteri Tomminpoika Kivimäki is on trial in Helsinki District Court for multiple counts of extortion and leaking data after information belonging to roughly 33,000 patients of now-defunct psychotherapy clinical chain Vastaamo appeared online in October 2020. Kivimäki, who formerly used the first name Julius, has denied guilt.

Finnish news outlet Iltalehti on Tuesday reported that Kivimäki had disappeared after the Helsinki Court of Appeal on Friday ordered his imprisonment. He was under home detention at the time of his disappearance.

Vastaamo went bankrupt after a hacker using "ransom_man" as a handle published therapy session notes of 300 patients and later emailed victims an extortion demand of 200 euros in cryptocurrency, which he said would increase to 500 euros after 24 hours. Vastaamo received an extortion demand of 450,000 euros. Kivimäki's bank account showed evidence of several payments during the time "ransom_man" had been active, prosecutors said.

Kivimäki, who was extradited from France in February last year, had been under pretrial custody for over a year until a Finnish district court in February placed him under home detention, with the condition that he be at his residence every day between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. and report to the police three times a week.

His detention conditions also included travel restrictions that required him stay within the Helsinki suburb of Espoo. He was not required to wear an ankle strap, according to a report by Helsingin Sanomat.

Kivimäki's lawyer told Iltalehti that the accused hacker has not fled from authorities but told the newspaper that he didn’t know the location of his client. The attorney said Kivimäki will likely appear for trial proceedings scheduled for next week.

Prosecutors in October charged Kivimäki with 9,598 counts of aggravated dissemination of information violating personal privacy, 21,316 counts of attempted extortion and 20 counts of aggravated extortion (see: Finnish Hacker Charged With Multiple Counts of Extortion).

Kivimäki's defense accused the Finnish police of fabricating evidence in the case. Kivimäki described his skills in programming as "pretty insignificant" (see: Finnish Hacker Denies Role in Psychotherapy Clinic Attack).

Prosecutors told the Finnish court that in addition to tracing payments into Kivimäki's bank account, they've identified the bitcoin wallets used by "ransom_man" to receive extortion payments (see: Prosecutors Add to Evidence Against Alleged Vastaamo Hacker).

A Finnish court in the 2010s found Kivimäki guilty of 50,700 "instances of aggravated computer break-ins" as part of a hacking spree that the then-17-year-old had committed against U.S. universities and database provider MongoHQ. The court imposed a two-year suspended prison sentence at that time.

About the Author

Akshaya Asokan

Akshaya Asokan

Senior Correspondent, ISMG

Asokan is a U.K.-based senior correspondent for Information Security Media Group's global news desk. She previously worked with IDG and other publications, reporting on developments in technology, minority rights and education.

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