Defiant Great North Dog Walk boss Tony Carlisle has vowed that he ‘won’t be broken’ by cyber crooks who have targeted him for a second time.
The charity champion admits he has been left traumatised after a virus swept through his computer - wiping out thousands of precious family pictures and vital contact information just weeks before his latest dog walk extravaganza.
Whoever is responsible for this is vindictive, malicious and idiotic.Tony Carlisle
The shell-shocked former Harton Technology College teacher says the hi-tech attack was carried out on Monday evening - and has left him unable to reply to people who have registered online to take part in the event, which is being held at The Leas, South Shields, on Sunday, June 5.
Mr Carlisle has described those reponsible for the hack as ‘malicious’ and vindictive’ but he says he won’t be thrown off course as he bids to make this year’s walk bigger and better than ever.
He has sent out a message to entrants that this year’s dog walk event won’t be affected by the setback.
He says anyone eager to register for the walk can still do so by logging onto the event’s website, www,greatnorthdogwalk.co.uk or to turn up on the day.
Mr Carlisle said; “The virus that has been placed on my computer has completely wiped out my hard drive. It is like the computer has just been torched.
“I have lost over 5,000 pictures of my children, which has been traumatising for me but this also could have put the dog walk in jeopardy.
“Whoever is responsible for this, whether it is an individual or a group, is vindictive, malicious and idiotic.
“There is no logic to why anyone would do this.
“But I won’t be broken by them, I can promise that.”
Last August online fraudsters hacked into the email account of Mr Carlisle on the eve of his wedding and sent out a plea for cash – purporting to be from him – to over 50,000 people on his mailing list.
The message claimed Mr Carlisle and his now-wife Nicola had been mugged by a gang of thugs while on a break in Turkey and needed £1,650 urgently to sort out hotel bills.
But he was back home in South Shields, preparing for his wedding day.
The 59-year-old has enlisted the support of IT experts who have so far been unable to fix the computer fault and get him back online.
The computer hack came as a hammer blow for Mr Carlisle as he looks ahead to the 26th annual dog walk.
A record total of 26,423 pet pooches were joined by their owners on the start line of last year’s walk.
After securing the key support of nationwide dog food brand pedigree, he has his sights set firmly on topping that impressive total.
He is also eager to add to the millions of pounds that have been raised for a host of charities since the dog walk was first let off the leash back in 1990.
Mr Carlisle is urging anyone who wants more information on registering for the walk to contact him via text on 07957249799.