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This week in Tortoise: Who is REvil?

This week in Tortoise: Who is REvil?

In late March last year, the computer system used by the schools in the Harris Federation – their 38,000 pupils and 5,000 staff – was hacked. All of their data was encrypted, effectively locked away, and would stay that way unless the company paid the attackers $4 million in cryptocurrency, doubling to $8 million if it wasn’t paid within ten days. 

The system had been infected with ransomware. It’s become increasingly common in recent years, and this particular group of schools had been attacked by one of the highest profile ransomware groups in the world: REvil. In this week’s episode of the Slow Newscast, Nicky Woolf investigates them – who are they, how do they get away with it, and who’s allowing them to do it?

Episode 5 of Sweet Bobby – Alexi Mostrous’ gripping investigation into one of the world’s most sophisticated catfishers – lands on Thursday in the Tortoise app, ad-free and a week earlier than on other podcast platforms. (If you haven’t already, do listen to Episode 4 – it’s a story that, just when you think it can’t get even more shocking and bizarre, manages to do just that.)

This week’s ThinkIns:

  • Where have all the modern protest songs gone? Tonight at 6.30pm GMT Matt d’Ancona is in conversation with the protest-singer-in-chief Billy Bragg.
  • Tomorrow evening at 6.30pm GMT we’ll be using our weekly Open News meeting to discuss what we’ve learned this year in our Tech States series – our ongoing investigative work into how big tech companies operate – and chiefly what to do about Meta, aka Facebook.
  • The Assisted Dying Bill has now had its second reading in the House of Lords. On Wednesday evening at 6.30pm GMT, we’ll be holding our own debate on the bill, asking if it is a compassionate step forward or whether the risks of it being abused are just too high.

On Friday, we’ll be holding the Tortoise Policing Inquiry, spending the day assessing why police forces consistently fall short when it comes to protecting women and girls from violent crime. We’ll be joined by several experts, including professor of public protection Dr Jane Monckton Smith, former Metropolitan Police superintendent Leroy Logan, Women’s Equality Party leader Mandu Reid and former Metropolitan Police chief superintendent Parm Sandhu. It’s online, it starts at 10am and runs to 3.45pm. Please do join us and help contribute to a better understanding of one of this country’s most stubborn problems.

Have a very good week.


James Harding
Editor & co-founder