The heist: nobody is safe from Russia’s digital pirates

In April, the Harris network of London schools was held to ransom by hackers. ‘The first thing I did was panic,’ said Sir Dan Moynihan, the chief executive. It wasn’t simply that their computers didn’t work; many of the 50 schools couldn’t function. Some couldn’t open because their internet-controlled doors were jammed shut. A demand for £3 million arrived. Moynihan pointed out this was a ‘completely insane’ amount for an educational charity to pay — but his pleas through an intermediary were ignored. The hackers insisted that unless Harris paid up, the schools would continue to be locked out of their networks, and sensitive data would be leaked online too.

I was held to ransom by hackers

I’m the owner of two small galleries which sell 20th-century ceramics and artworks. One of the ways we’ve become known is through Instagram. We’ve got almost 50,000 followers and sell a lot of work through there. In May, I was away for the weekend with friends in Somerset. On Saturday morning, I saw an email in our shared work account (purporting to be) from Instagram. It was congratulating us for getting a blue tick — verification that confirms the account is an ‘authentic presence’. Thrilled, I clicked the link in the email to confirm. It took me to an official-looking Instagram page where I entered our login details. I was