Breast cancer patient asks Lehigh Valley to pay $5M ransom to have nude photos taken offline

A patient whose nude breast cancer photos were posted online by a hacker group is asking Allentown, Pa.-based Lehigh Valley Health Network to pay the $5 million ransom to have them removed, The Wall Street Journal reported April 19.

The BlackCat ransomware gang, which has ties to Russia, stole and published the photos to the dark web after the health system declined its ransom demand. The patient's request is part of a complaint she filed March 13 against Lehigh Valley and is now in federal court. While data breach lawsuits are common, it is "unusual for victims to try to compel a company to pay a ransom," the Journal noted.

"She's afraid [people] are going to show up at her place of employment, someone is going to put together that it's her, download them, joke about it at work," her attorney, Patrick Howard, told the newspaper. "She is going to have this in the back of her mind as long as these images are on the internet."

The patient, known in the lawsuit as Jane Doe, has claimed she didn't know the photos were taken in the first place. They appear to be from the end of her breast cancer treatment, according to the story.

Other nude patient photos are searchable by name online, Mr. Howard told the news outlet. The health system said in a court filing that an estimated 2,760 pictures were stolen.

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