The Duchess of York is among a group of famous faces in Britain who have reportedly had their personal details leaked by Russian hackers on the so-called ‘Dark Web’.
Prince Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, 62, along with 58-year-old Lady Sarah Chatto – King Charles’ cousin – and Sir David Attenborough, 96, were targeted by a group known as the ‘Snatch Team’, The Mail on Sunday said.
Also on a list of celebrities hit are tennis star Tim Henman, 48, and snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, 46, according to the publication.
The Mail on Sunday says the hackers hacked their data when they targeted luxury organic food company Daylesford, a favourite of the rich and powerful and dubbed “Britain’s poshest farm shop”.
It added the details were leaked when bosses of the firm refused to pay a hefty ransom in the form of Bitcoin, with the hack apparently perpetrated using ransomware software.
Daylesford – which sells £50 (C$73.50) pots of honey and is owned by Lady Carole Bamford, wife of the Conservative party billionaire donor and JCB construction owner Lord Bamford – admitted in June last year it had been hacked but insisted no personal data had been compromised.
But The Mail on Sunday said since then the hackers have uploaded a “vast cache” of stolen files measuring 80 gigabytes to the dark web, renowned as a trading place for criminals in drugs, weapons, child pornography, hacked details and stolen credit card information.
The publication said the leaked Daylesford files included order sheets for its wealthy clients and sensitive corporate data including staff grievances, confidentiality agreements, and banking information.
“This cyber attack should be a wake-up call for the security services and businesses,” Philip Ingram, an ex-colonel in British military intelligence, told The Mail on Sunday.
“Daylesford is exactly the kind of company that would be viewed by Russia-based hackers as both a lucrative ransomware opportunity and of potential use to power brokers in the Kremlin.”
Daylesford, named after the Cotswolds village where the Bamford family live, has been reported to have delivered food to former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but it is understood he is not among the clients whose details were leaked.
Johnson and his wife Carrie Symonds held their wedding party at Daylesford House two months ago, which is the Bamford family’s Grade I-listed home.
The firm, whose other products include £25 (C$36.75) boxes of loose-leaf green tea and £30 (C$44) bottles of olive oil, has around 800 staff and a turnover of nearly £50 million (C$73.5 million) a year, and was founded after Lady Bamford began giving her children organic food.
Russian cyber-crime has soared since its president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February, understood to be a response to Western sanctions against the nation.