Significant cyberattack in Helsinki attacked data used by Education Division

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Significant cyberattack in Helsinki attacked data used by Education Division
Significant cyberattack in Helsinki attacked data used by Education Division

A significant cyberattack targeted a data network utilized by the city’s Education Division, which is in charge of managing Helsinki’s early childhood through upper secondary education.

In an attack on the city of Helsinki, hackers may have obtained the personal information on the education of up to 80,000 schoolchildren, their guardians, and 40,000 city workers, Finnish cyber officials said on Tuesday. A large-scale intrusion on April 30 attacked a data network used by the city’s Education Division, which is in charge of managing Helsinki’s early childhood through upper secondary education, Jussi Eronen of the Cyber Security Center stated.

Eronen stated, “This is one of the biggest cyberattacks against Finnish municipalities,” and the Cyber Security Center was providing support to the impacted parties. The attacker obtained access to the user names, email addresses, and personal ID numbers of students, their guardians, and staff in the city’s schools by taking advantage of a vulnerability in the server that was connected to the network.

The city of Helsinki stated in a statement on Monday that the offender also obtained the user names and email addresses of every employee. Helsinki city manager Jukka-Pekka Ujula stated, “This is a very serious data breach, with potentially unfortunate consequences for our customers and personnel.” The majority of the millions of files kept on the compromised network did not contain any sensitive information, but the city stated that “some of the documents among those files do include confidential or sensitive personal information,” including records of sick days and medical certificates.

“We cannot rule out the possibility of the perpetrator gaining access to the data of persons under a non-disclosure restriction,” the municipality stated. The city was “unable to provide an accurate assessment of what data the perpetrator may have accessed,” according to Satu Jarvenkallas, executive director of the Education Division, because of the volume of data being looked into. Eronen states that it can take a few weeks or even months to identify the offender. The intrusion happened on the same day that a hacker involved in the largest hacking case in Finland—involving the theft of tens of thousands of psychotherapy records—was sentenced to six years in prison by a Finnish court.

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