Hacker jailed for blackmailing therapy patients for bitcoin

A court in Finland has jailed the hacker responsible for blackmailing 30,000 psychotherapy patients for more than $500,000 in bitcoin, sentencing him to six years and nine months in prison. 

Julius Kivimäki threatened to extort the Vastaamo psychotherapy center out of 40 bitcoins in 2018 after hacking into its database and stealing patient notes.

He then blackmailed individual patients by threatening to release their notes unless a smaller bitcoin ransom was paid. Kivimäki denies the charges.  

One suicide has reportedly been linked to Kivimäki’s extortion attempts while one victim told the BBC, “The main thing is that this absolutely empathy-lacking, ruthless criminal gets a prison sentence.”

Read more: Finnish police can’t find suspected bitcoin blackmailer they just released

“After this, there rise thoughts about how short the conviction is when reflected against the number of victims. But, that’s the Finnish law and I must accept that,” the victim said.

Finnish media reports that Kivimäki’s sentence was reportedly shortened by three months due to settlements he’s made with plaintiffs and some of the victims. Despite this, more victims will reportedly come forward with civil court cases against him seeking compensation.

Police lost Finnish hacker 

Kivimäki was arrested in Paris in February 2023 he attempted to evade authorities and was extradited to Finland weeks later. At one point, he failed to show up to court for a week with authorities claiming they had lost the 26-year-old.

During the investigation into Kivimäki, Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation (KRP) may have also cracked Monero’s privacy ethos after it claimed to have heuristically concluded the probabilistic outcome of a Monero transaction.

Julius Kivimäki’s earlier court appearance.

The KRP, however, wouldn’t reveal its methods, claiming, “Police don’t want to tell criminals or anyone else how the anonymous cryptocurrency could have been traced. Working tracing methods could be of significant help to the KRP in other ongoing or future criminal investigations” (translated from Finnish).

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