The Russians are coming. They might not be knocking down our doors, but cyber hackers are already invading our computers. And I can vouch for the disruption they are causing. My personal computer has been crippled by ‘attacks from Russia,’ as they have tried to hijack my email account.
It has been a harrowing experience because my computer is like an extra limb – and essential for my work.
As a victim of the Kremlin’s red army of online fraudsters, I can no longer send or receive emails. Worse still, I am worried the Russians could be watching my every move – with KGB-style online eavesdropping.
Advice: Expert Colin Tankard helps Toby Walne tighten up the security on his computer system following the attack
Quite why I have been targeted I cannot say. Journalist I may be, but my emails are full of tips on bleeding radiators to keep heating bills down – not the codes to Britain’s nuclear arsenal.
It has left me feeling not only violated, but also paranoid. At any moment, they could plunder my computer files and demand money in a blackmail ‘ransomware’ attack – or by stealing enough data, even empty my bank account.
The trigger for the attacks on my machine remains unknown, but may have been a result of me downloading ‘Bad Rabbit’ software – malware – when I pressed a button thinking I was updating software. Such malware ransacks your computer of information and appears to originate from Russia.
Then again, perhaps the Kremlin found my details on the dark web – where it appears my personal information and passwords had been leaked, following hacks into services I have used in the past.
Or maybe I had been targeted following a warning article written in The Mail on Sunday in March about ‘Putin’s hackers’.
Frightening though the experience has been, at least I am now aware what is going on and can take action. And according to cyber experts, I am not alone. The Russians are targeting thousands – maybe millions – of people’s computers in order to disrupt Western economies following the invasion of Ukraine.
This is not just revenge for sanctions – creating disruption and panic for computer users – but to swindle us out of our money.