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Major Helsinki cyberattack targeted tens of thousands

Cyberattack hits Iran parliament websites: state media

Hackers may have accessed the personal data of up to 80,000 students, their guardians and 40,000 city employees in an attack on the city of Helsinki, Finnish cyber authorities told AFP on Tuesday.

A data network used by the city’s Education Division — which oversees Helsinki’s early childhood to upper secondary education — was targeted in an extensive cyberattack on April 30, Jussi Eronen of the Cyber Security Centre told AFP.

“This is one of the largest cyberattacks that has occurred against Finnish municipalities,” Eronen said, adding that the Cyber Security Centre was offering assistance to the affected parties.

By exploiting a vulnerability in the server connected to the network, the perpetrator gained access to user names, email addresses and personal ID numbers of pupils, their guardians and staff in the city’s schools.

The perpetrator also accessed user names and email addresses of all city personnel, the city of Helsinki said in a statement on Monday.

“This is a very serious data breach, with possible unfortunate consequences for our customers and personnel,” Helsinki city manager Jukka-Pekka Ujula said.

Of the millions of files stored in the breached network, most did not contain amything sensitive, yet “some of the documents among those files do include confidential or sensitive personal information”, the city noted, such as medical certificates and sick leave records.

“We cannot rule out the possibility of the perpetrator gaining access to data of persons under a non-disclosure restriction,” the city said.

Due to the large volume of data under investigation, the city was “unable to provide an accurate assessment of what data the perpetrator may have accessed,” said Satu Jarvenkallas, executive director of the Education Division.

According to Eronen, it could take several weeks or even months before the perpetrator is identified.

The breach occurred on the same day a Finnish court jailed a hacker for six years over the country’s biggest hacking case, involving the theft of tens of thousands of psychotherapy records.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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