Global alert! Cybercrime gets surgical

Here is something for the aesthetic industry across the world to be weary off – illegal theft of patient data, especially ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures, among others. As reported, in December last year, making big headlines in the UK were hackers stealing data of a large cosmetic surgery chain, further threatening to publish patients’ photographs. Well, in the new virtual world of consultations, owing to the pandemic, it is important to be far more cautious and ensure top-notch privacy to ensure data and patient privacy safety.

As reported by a leading global media house, a chain of hospital and clinic facilities with several celebrity endorsements confirmed a ransomware attack in December last year. The attack was announced on the ransomware group’s darknet webpage; they claimed to have obtained more than 900 gigabytes of patient photographs. The aesthetic facility in question, specialises in weight loss, and face and body cosmetic surgery; they said that their IT systems was subjected to a data security breach and though none of the patients’ payment card details were compromised, some patients’ personal data may have been accessed. The clinic emailed all its customers about the cyber-attack. Patients were concerned about their photos’ being released on public platforms – especially patients who had not shared any details about their treatments with family, friends, and colleagues.

Digital security breaches typically involve hackers getting access to a computer network and stealing data, or locking users out of their systems often times demanding a ransom. Additional privacy and heightened security should be a major concern of clinics specialising in aesthetic surgeries lest their patients feel insecure in the wake of these attacks.