CELEBRITIES are among the clients of a high-profile European plastic surgery clinic that was attacked by hackers, who today released thousands of intimate before-and-after images.
Grozio Chirurgija in Lithuania had its servers breached by a group known as Tsar Team, who broke in and stole more than 25,000 private photographs as well as personal information.
Over the past few months the hackers have attempted to blackmail thousands of victims from Britain, Germany, Denmark, Norway and the United States.
They were ordered to cough up AU$3000 to stop the material, which included nude pre and post-surgery pictures, from being made public, ABC News in the US reported.
Among the haul was also copies of passports, address information and US social security numbers, police said.
The clinic itself was also blackmailed for more than half a million dollars but it refused to pay.
The deputy chief of Lithuania’s criminal police bureau Andzejus Raginskis told reporters that it seemed all of the stolen content had been uploaded to the ‘dark web’ today.
“It’s extortion. We’re talking about a serious crime,” Mr Raginskis said at a press conference.
Victims have not been identified but MailOnline reported that celebrities were among those whose sensitive information was released.
Authorities are now working with private IT security advisers and police across Europe to track down the culprits.
They also warned that anyone who downloads or shares the stolen data could be prosecuted.
The clinic’s owner Arijus Katauskas took to Facebook to apologise for the distress caused by the security breach.
“Cyber criminals are blackmailers,” Mr Katauskas said. “They are blackmailing our clients with inappropriate text messages.”
The clinic, which opened eight years ago, stated it has a reputation for “caring staff and a cosy environment”.
It has warned clients not to open any suspicious emails and to ignore contact with the blackmailers.
Instances of ‘hacker blackmail’ have been on the rise over the past year.
The most recent WannaCry ransomware attack is the largest of its kind in history and saw the data of infected users locked and only released on payment.