Criminal investigation into Vastaamo hacking case completed

Publication date 31.8.2023 10.58
News item

The Vastaamo hacking case, involving suspected aggravated computer break-in, aggravated attempted extortion and aggravated dissemination of information violating personal privacy, has been under investigation by the police since autumn 2020. The criminal investigation is now completed and referred to the prosecutor for consideration of charges.

The suspect in the Vastaamo case, suspected of aggravated computer break-in, aggravated attempted extortion and aggravated dissemination of information violating personal privacy, is a 26-year-old Finnish man. He has been on remand in relation to the case since February 2023.

– The major goal of the investigation was to establish the course of events and identify the offender in order to bring him to justice and make it possible for the victims to exercise their full rights. Our investigation team was confident about solving the case from the beginning, and we have now completed the criminal investigation, says Head of Investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Marko Leponen of the National Bureau of Investigation.

As the case was the first of its kind in Finland in many ways, the police had to swiftly develop new approaches and investigative methods for, among others, interviewing victims.

The National Bureau of Investigation and local police departments across Finland worked in close cooperation during the criminal investigation. The National Bureau of Investigation focused on forensic investigations related to the computer break-in, and the police departments received and handled the reports and electronic statements of victims and compiled them into separate records. International mutual legal assistance and exchange of information were of key importance to the investigation.

– The fact that this was a massive investigation manifests itself not only in the number of victims but also in the amount of data examined, which is one petabyte. The criminal investigation record prepared by the National Bureau of Investigation has 2200 pages. The police departments also prepared a total of over 23,000 records of the reports of offences made by the victims and referred these to the prosecutor for consideration of charges.

– The Vastaamo investigation was completed as a result of successful cooperation both within the Finnish Police and with our national and international partners and stakeholders. I would like to express special thanks to the police departments. Many of them had to make exceptional arrangements in order to conduct the investigation and compile the criminal investigation records concerning the victims. Victim Support Finland also had a crucial role in supporting the victims and helping the police to communicate information about the criminal procedure to them, says Marko Leponen.

The criminal investigation record is now referred to the National Prosecution Authority for consideration of charges by a national team of prosecutors set up for the case.

Victim Support Finland provides support and advice

It is possible that the progress made in the criminal process and the media coverage on the case may stir up negative emotions, and victims may feel that it is difficult to deal with practical issues. Victim Support Finland’s helpline 116 006 and RIKUchat provide victims with support and practical advice. The RIKU website also contains important information for victims.

Edit 31.8.2023 12:50: Specified the part about consideration of charges.

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