NEWS: Woodland Trust hacked

I highlighted the disappearance of the Woodland Trust from much online activity quite some time ago – no online shop, no online membership subscription, no online donation. Clearly something serious was happening. Now, the Woodland Trust has gone public with what seemed to be a likely, but highly unusual situation – they’ve been hacked.

I understand that there is no evidence that data have been compromised.

This must be a nightmare and NGOs around the country will be asking their IT staff about whether it could happen to them, too. I wish the woodland Trust all the best with sorting this out.

The Woodland Trust had its problems from mid-December.

It must simply be a coincidence that about a week before then Nigel Farage was having a go at them on social media (Twitter and Facebook). Here is his his video from YouTube:


15 Replies to “NEWS: Woodland Trust hacked”

  1. Is there no limits to this mans arrogance? It seems unlikely that H&S is the only reason for this kind of woodland management, given that opening the canopy in areas of dense woodland gives massive benefits in natural regeneration of trees and other field and shrub layer plants, with the conccomitant benefits to invertebrates, mammals and birds. It is recognised as good practice to leave felled timber and brash on site wherever possible to return nutrients to the ecosystem they are part of, to the ultimate benefit of all. Funny that Farage rails against a charity with clear conservation ideals in his own North Kent backyard, but is remarkably silent on the subject of HS2, which is carrying out comprehensive environmental vandlaism on an epic scale and is currently carting 200 year old tree trunks all the way to Kent to a ‘biomass power station’ where the very nutrients loccal ecosystem need are being turned into atmospheric pollution. Nigel Farage, the ultimate NIMBY!!!!

    1. The idea of Nigel Farage presenting himself as some kind of environmental campaigner is frankly ludicrous. This was just an opportunity for him to make an ill-informed “health and safety gone mad” rant.

      I am not holding my breath for him to start protesting when and if EU-derived protections for wildlife start to get eroded by the government bringing in new regulations “designed to makes us more competitive”.

      Given what he is I suppose we should not be surprised when verbal flatulence emanates forth from him…

    2. Well said! He certainly didn’t make any reference to the deadwood being vital for wildlife and ecological health, he suggested it lying about was a bad thing. Disgusting that 200 year old trees are being used for biomass, one of the obscenities of our time.

  2. The Woodland Trust website warns: “As a precaution, we are encouraging all our supporters to be mindful of any suspicious activity, especially unexpected emails or phone calls from unknown sources or purporting to come from your bank.” So they think data compromise is possible.

    I have been a supporter of the WT for very many years and don’t like to criticise them at a difficult time. But I can’t help wondering why they didn’t refute Farage’s attack, and whether they really had to leave their supporters completely in the dark for such a long time. I fear there will be long-term damage. Self-publicising might be the only thing Farage is good at, but in that field he is a master, so it is very risky to try to ignore him in the hope that he will just go away.

  3. I understand the Great Bustard Group’s website has also similarly been attacked recently. Coincidence?

    1. The far right want to remove environmental legislation so they can make more money and this has happened extensively in the US. Farage’s facebook page is full of plugs for Trump, whose own attacks on environmentalism are part of this. I’m trying not to put two and two together too readily and I would hope that there is will on the part of our current government to stop this kind of interference.

      1. Yep Farage was actually brought up on stage at one of Trump’s rallies to blatantly lick his arse which really showed him up for the craven pathetic excuse of a human being he is. The stomach churning sight would not have been very popular in old blighty. Trump, a ‘man’ who at another rally where Ford was a major employer of the almost totally white audience said ‘Good genes, lots of good genes here’. Henry Ford was of course famously anti-semitic, generally racist and admired by Hitler. Looks as if the orange one is planning to be a big force in US politics out of office which doesn’t bode well for the environment. I hope Biden has reversed Trump’s last minute executive order to open up the Alaskan Tongas to the logging of old growth forest – I wonder how that sat with Mr Nigel ‘I love trees’ Farage?

  4. I’d have to agree with the previous poster that it seems unlikely that H&S is the main motivating factor, not least because this is not being replicated at all Woodland Trust sites, as Farage seems to suggest. It may be that H&S considerations were taken into account when choosing sites for selective thinning, but then why not if all other considerations are equal? Anyway, I do hope the Woodland Trust is able to resolve the IT problem soon and that it hasn’t been too expensive at a time when many NGOs are already struggling.

  5. I think it was probably Alex, who calls me every week about the government roof-insulation scheme for home-owners I haven’t installed recently in my loft in the house that I don’t own.

    1. Sadly there is a constant barrage of cold calling scammers looking to hoodwink the unwary.

  6. Firstly, a warning – dead Ash are quickly infected by Honey Fungus and become very brittle. They break up very easily, even from the vibration of a chainsaw. Falling debris can be lethal. FISA (the forestry safety body) actually advise machine – harvester not chainsaw- felling. For anyone dealing with dead Ash please take extreme care – even relatively small branches falling from height could be lethal.

    Nigel Farage’s piece illustrates a range of points common to woodland management more generally. Popular perception is of stability – woods seem permanent and the rate they change is slower than normal human perception. Not being able to see the light is fundamental to the decline of woodland birds and broader biodiversity. Sadly, whilst the decline of Ash threatens some specialist species, it may benefit overall biodiversity in the same way the 1987 storm in many ways was a positive, opening up woodland in the most undermanaged and potentially richest woodland area in England, the South East.

    I hope WT will extract a lot of what they are felling (whilst also leaving lots of dead wood). Local small to medium heat from wood is now generating energy equivalent to 1/2 the output from Hinckley Point (and its doing it now) and bringing half our neglected woodland – roughly the same area as the whole of the nationally owned Forestry England forests – would generate a further 1/4.

  7. Other charity organisations have been recently compromised in the IT area. There was a large occurence last year when a company that a lot of various entities had outsourced their IT to got hit. Universities (UK & US included), charities, a whole lotta stuff. A lot of eggs in that basket.

    I hope the Woodland Trust informed the ICO within 72 hours (if this was a stand-alone breach of IT systems under their control).

  8. It’s the same virus that hit SEPA (see, who to be honest are being a lot more forthcoming with informing the public about it. Both attacks are very likely to be part of the international Solarwinds exploit (

    If you look into it, you’ll find quite a few UK public institutions were hit during the attack. Neither the WT nor SEPA (or any other targets, as far as I know) have received any demand for ransom, despite similarities between the software tools used by the attackers and those used by conventional data ransomers.

    The Solarwinds hack is the single biggest incident of cybercrime / espionage to date, and both these organizations really are small fry compared to some of the central government bodies that were also hit.

    That’s not to say that data belonging to SEPA and the Trust, including personal and employee data, hasn’t been compromised and copied to unknown servers, because that’s (part of) what’s happened – for certain with SEPA, most likely with the Trust as well. It’s just to say that the motivations for the theft weren’t necessarily financial or ideological, and many other organizations are also affected.

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