After making off with just shy of half a million records recently, a still-anonymous group of hackers threatened the same offices they pilfered from a month earlier with blackmail if members of the Harley Medical Group didn’t start forking out some cash to keep the secrets of their plastic surgery patients.
As one can imagine, those seeking plastic surgery may have had those appointments privately without the knowledge of their family members or circle of friends, and the last thing they’d want to have floating around the world is pictures of them with a bunch of pen marks all over their face or body.
Representing 21 clinics across several regions of the United Kingdom, Harvey Medical Group has since come forward to inform the press that the team was able to get in through a flaw in their central website inquiry form, but that in the end the threats of exposing those affected were about as empty as their file cabinets after the robbers had made out the window with most of the stash.
“If you’re considering having a tummy tuck, a breast enlargement or some other form of cosmetic surgery, chances are that you want to keep the treatment private,” writes a veteran security expert from BitDefender’s HotForSecurity blog, Graham Cluley. “There aren’t many people who are comfortable admitting that they have confidence issues with their physical appearance. And, for that reason, you would hope that cosmetic surgeries keep a close guard of the personal data of their clients and potential customers.”
Thankfully, either because they never had the whole of the data to begin with or they just grew a heart when they realized their efforts could be fruitless, the sensitive details about patients including their contact information and the surgery they were seeking consultation never hit the net.
The spokesperson for Harley Group never disclosed how much the hackers had asked for, probably opting to keep the speculation of how big of a screw up this could have been (if the hackers not backed out at the last minute from their demands), as under wraps as possible.