back to article Today's 'sophisticated cyber attack' victim is the Woodland Trust: Pre-Xmas breach under investigation

The Woodland Trust, a peaceful British charity that looks after trees, was struck by a “cyber attack” before Christmas. Members of the trust, which says it has planted 43 million trees since its foundation in 1972, were informed last night of what was inevitably described as a “sophisticated, high level cyber-incident.” It …

  1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    Planning objections?

    I doubt they were involved in any way, but see:

    https://www.thebusinessdesk.com/yorkshire/news/2069341-harrogate-waters-expansion-plans-refused

    If the Woodlands Trust advises people on how to object to planning applications, that could cost some companies a lot of money, and cause them lots of problems. Details of WT membership might indicate where objections to plans are likely to be raised and by whom. I suspect there may be unscrupulous people out there who would like to be forewarned of such possible adversaries.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Planning objections?

      > I suspect there may be unscrupulous people out there who would like to be forewarned of such possible adversaries.

      What like HS2 Ltd?

  2. spireite
    Coat

    Investigation to be run by........

    So, they have suffered a security beech?

    I guess it'll be Special Branch, trying to get to the root of the problem.

    Hopefully, the hackers won't run rings round them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Investigation to be run by........

      It's really high time that all organisations turn over a new leaf and plant the seeds of a root and branch overhaul of their security.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Investigation to be run by........

        Did they get root level access?

        1. Ivan Headache

          Re: Investigation to be run by........

          I wonder if the hackers thought it was a hedge fund.

          1. Mr Dogshit
            Joke

            Re: Investigation to be run by........

            They're still going through the logs.

            1. Absolute Cynic
              Thumb Down

              Re: Investigation to be run by........

              Oh dear. Does this mean someone in IT will get the chop?

              1. FlamingDeath Silver badge

                Re: Investigation to be run by........

                “IT chop”

                They’ll probably sack their janitor by mistake

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Investigation to be run by........

      Good job they twigged to it quickly, clearly they've been hiding their light under a bushel. Let's hope the investigators aren't barking up the wrong tree. Someone must be arboring these criminals.

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "If it is ransomware, the attack goes to show that no organisation, no matter how innocuous, is off-limits"

    Early victims weren't even organisations. They were individuals such as me cousin-in-law who got hit with an email apparently from a friend. Fortunately that wasn't a sophisticate one - it simply deleted the original files instead of overwriting them.

    But it just illustrates that any organisation, however unlikely a target it might think itself, needs a defence in depth.

  4. sitta_europea Silver badge

    I'm a life member of the Woodland Trust and I haven't yet heard a dicky-bird from them about this.

    1. Lockdown Fatty

      Are you thinking of the RSPB?

    2. Tony W

      More to this story?

      Their website mostly continued working and new content was posted, including a message saying that they had IT problems. But it was seven weeks before they said that they had been attacked and told members that data might have been compromised.

      Their sales of Xmas cards and gifts must have been badly affected. I don't normally use Twitter but a brief look at their Twitter feed before Christmas showed lots of unanswered questions about people's orders.

      Very shortly before the incident they were strongly attacked in a video by Nigel Farage for needlessly felling lots of trees. For myself, having seen them working effectively for very many years, I have no doubt that they have been doing their best for conservation, but I've not been able to find their response to Farage so it seems that they decided to ignore him. I don't think this is a wise approach, as their silence could be seen as an admission of guilt. There seems no connection between the two attacks but it is an odd coincidence.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I haven't yet heard a dicky-bird from them about this"

      That's because they don't have access to membership records - they're locked.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Timing of Attack

    Given the timing of the attack, there must a be a load of jokes about Christmas trees, but I can't think of any.

    Anyone ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Timing of Attack

      There's clearly a cone of silence as finding these evergreen criminals will be like finding a needle in a fir tree, I mean haystack. When they cash in their woodchips I won't pine for them.

  6. John Sturdy
    Thumb Down

    Sheffield City Council?

    Sheffield City Council looking for dirt on people who might object to their plans to cut down lots of healthy trees?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Sheffield City Council?

      : Sheffield City Council has a lot in common with North Korea, except possibly the ability to mount a sophisticated cyber attack. Or indeed the ability to organise a piss up in a brewery

  7. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Very sad to see this.

    I got the email notification, and my first thought was that the cost of sorting the mess out and the loss of contact with supporters is all taking resources away from one of our best environmental organisations. It is not just about the trees.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...as increasingly greedy crooks hunt for data to pinch for profit"

    Not to mention the equally greedy legal businesses...

  9. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    Sophisticated has another meaning?

    Which I am not aware about?

    Do you ever get the feeling some of these wankers in these organisations actually want to get ransomware because it will bring some excitement to their lives, and of course someone gets to play hero

    I like the way El Reg want clarification of what “disconnecting IT” looks like

    The fact no answer came is probably because they do not actually know, but I suspect in their heads it probably looks a bit like turning the water mains off.

    Ultimately the buck stops with the CEO, cos IT isn't even a recognised profession lulz

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