Hackers threaten to leak plastic surgery snaps from company used by Kerry Katona

A gang of computer hackers claims to have stolen secret “before and after” pictures from a central London cosmetic surgery group endorsed by celebrities such as Kerry Katona, Joey Essex and Big Brother star Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace.

The hackers – from a Russian-based collective known as REvil – are threatening to release the “intimate” photos unless a ransom is paid.

The group said the 900 gigabytes of data they had obtained contained photos that were "not a completely pleasant sight”.

The Hospital Group said in a statement: "We can confirm that our IT systems have been subject to a data security breach."

They stressed that none of their patients' payment card details had been compromised but they added "we understand that some of our patients' personal data may have been accessed.”

The company’s statement said that it would be contacting all of the customers whose personal details had been compromised.

REvil, also known by the name Sodinokibi, has performed a number of high-profile ransomware attacks on companies such as international money transfer company Travelex and celebrity law firm Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks.

The Hospital Group describes itself as the UK's leading specialist weight loss and cosmetic surgery provider.

It has 11 clinics specialising in procedures such as breast enlargements, and weight loss surgery. The company reported in September that its business had grown by 25% over the past year, with weight-loss procedures in particular being driven by the Covid-19 lockdown.

One former customer, Simon Hails, told the BBC that he didn’t want to see his private photos “splattered around” the internet.

“I've tried to keep my surgery private, and not even some of my friends and colleagues know about it, so the data breach is concerning for me," he said.

Ransomware attacks are commonly launched via seemingly-innocent computer programs concealing "trojan" payloads that encrypt the victim’s data. The criminals then demand a payment to unlock the files.

One notorious case, the CryptoWall virus, reportedly made over $18million for its creators before June 2015.

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