Details of 500,000 people stolen and used in blackmail attempt
- Information submitted to Harley Medical Group accessed by hackers
- Security breach bid to blackmail high end cosmetic surgery firm
- ‘Russian hackers behind the breach’, it has been reported
One of Britain’s best-known and biggest providers of private cosmetic surgery has been targeted by computer hackers, it was revealed last night.
Confidential personal details of nearly 500,000 people who made an enquiry about surgery via Harley Medical Group’s website were stolen in an apparent bid to blackmail the company.
Patients interested in surgery are asked to fill in an online form ahead of an appointment, with details including phone numbers, email address and date of birth.
That personal information was accessed and stolen in a security breach, the firm admitted in a letter to patients posted online.
The company carries out a range of cosmetic surgery from breast augmentations and reductions to facelifts and tummy tucks. It boasts to potential customers on its website: ‘Our No 1 goal is to look after you.’
But Peter Boddy, chairman of the company that is based in Thames Ditton, Surrey, and has 31 clinics nationwide, was forced to write to clients apologising for the security breach.
He reassured them that ‘clinical and financial information has not been compromised’.
Mr Boddy wrote: ‘We recently became aware that an unknown individual had deliberately bypassed our website security, gaining access to information from initial website enquiries in an attempt to extort money from the company.’
Later, Harley Medical Group posted on Twitter: ‘We’re sorry details of initial enquiries have been accessed illegally and assure clinical and financial information is secure.’
The company said that it had improved its security.
Last night The Sun reported that Russian hackers were responsible.
They claimed the crooks struck last month using a Russian email address to try and extort money from the firm and that stars of The Only Way is Essex, were among customers whose details were accessed.
No one from Harley Medical Group was last night available to comment.
Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk