Cybercriminals Now Targeting Celebrity Plastic Surgery

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When you think about cybercriminals, what image comes to mind? Some sweaty, greasy teenager type persona hidden in a dark room surrounded by computers, trying to crack code and glean information from big websites. Kind of true.

Then you think about the types of places that hackers are trying to break into. It’s easy to think that they will go after big companies like Amazon and other online retailers. Or banks, investment companies, or telecom giants. You probably wouldn’t think that cybercriminals would have celebrity plastic surgeons high up on their list. But they did.

Yes, this actually happened not so long ago. The Hospital Group, a leading plastic surgery company in the UK known for providing services to a range of celebrities, was a recent victim of a ransomware attack. Hackers managed to break into their system and get an exhaustive list of their patients’ before and after pictures. The group responsible, REvil, have said they’re not the nicest of images, but with over 900 gigabytes of patient photographs, they’ve certainly got a lot to hold the company to ransom.  

The Hospital Group themselves said: “We can confirm that our IT systems have been subject to a data security breach. None of our patients’ payment card details have been compromised, but at this stage, we understand that some of our patients’ personal data may have been accessed.”

Okay, hold on, this is serious. Payment details are safe, so that’s good. But for a plastic surgery company, the personal details are the one thing you want to keep extra safe. Especially if you’re a celebrity, who’s trying to hide the fact they’ve had any work done. In fact, anybody who’s had any work done no doubt wants to keep that information private. It’s like the Ashley Madison affair all over again (pun intended). The dating site was hacked years ago, and high-profile users had their information leaked all over the tabloids. It led to broken marriages, heartbreak, and in the worse scenarios, suicide. Now imagine somebody who has sought body modifications because the way they look has affected their mental health. Leaked pictures can only lead to bad things.

Only a few celebs like Dolly Parton are happy to admit they have had surgery. She said: “If something is bagging, sagging, or dragging, I’ll tuck it, suck it, or pluck it.” 

But it’s not unusual to see ransomware attacks like this. They’ve been growing in the world of cybercrime, and online users and IT security companies are always having to up their game to combat it. In 2020, it was estimated that cybercriminals had earned $25bn, so you can only expect ransomware attacks to keep on happening.  To make sure you don’t become a victim, it’s important to take the right steps.

Step one is to arm yourself against online hackers. One of the best ways to do that is by using a VPN. It’s a great way to turn yourself invisible when you’re online and keep all your information protected. If you were to use the CyberGhost virtual private network, for example, you’d be able to protect your digital identity and massively reduce the risk of being a ransomware victim. And now’s the best time to do this. Why? More and more of us are going online every day; we use the internet for practically everything. The coronavirus pandemic has also seen a massive increase in remote working, so more people are behind the computer screen. And with lockdowns all over the country, the increase of streaming and online communications has risen massively. However, this also means it’s a paradise for cybercriminals as more people are signing up for services, leaving their personal information out there on the internet. A successful ransomware attack can yield impressive results for them.

A VPN will help you combat this, though. It’ll hide your original source of origin when you head online, so cyber criminals won’t be able to find out your IP address. You can then go online in complete anonymity.  If you’ve signed up to different retailers, have your details stored on specialist sites, you’ll now have peace of mind knowing that your details are kept secure behind the VPN’s security. And speaking of security, a VPN like CyberGhost boasts AES 256-bit encryption, which is the highest standard available. That means whenever you’re online, you’ll already have that high level of security watching your back.

As shown by the Hospital Group, any kind of business can be open to the latest hacking attack. With so much of our details kept online, too, there’s always this sense of danger lurking about. Why rely on the security of just one company when you can add extra protection yourself? 

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