Woodland Trust victim of ‘sophisticated, high-level cyber-incident’

The Woodland Trust has revealed it was victim to a “sophisticated, high level cyber-incident”.

The UK woodland conservation charity, which has 250,000 members and 500,000 supporters, told PA there is currently no evidence to suggest any data was taken.

Experts are investigating the incident, which is believed to have taken place at 7pm on December 14.

The charity – responsible for looking after more than 1,000 free access woodland sites across the UK – said it immediately took action to inform authorities.

As a precaution, all IT systems were disconnected to ensure no further data was put at risk.

Supporters and members are being notified via email, asking people to be mindful of any suspicious activity, such as unexpected emails or phone calls from unknown numbers or those claiming to be from their bank.

“We can confirm that the Woodland Trust was targeted by a sophisticated high-level cyber-attack on 14th December,” said Darren Moorcroft, the body’s chief executive.

“As soon as we were made aware, we took immediate steps to contain the incident and notify the relevant authorities, including the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the Charity Commission and the police.

“We have been working hard, alongside a number of third-party experts including forensic IT specialists, to determine the nature of the criminal activity.

“This investigation is ongoing and therefore there are details which are yet to emerge. However, as a precautionary measure, we have notified supporters and partners, and should we need to notify anyone whose information may have been impacted, we will do so in accordance with GDPR.

“We take our cyber security and privacy obligations extremely seriously and are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused.

“We are grateful for the patience and understanding of all our supporters and partners at this time.”