22 February 2021 by Joshua Doherty

SEPA appeals to waste sector after cyber-attack

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) has said it “recognises the importance of the waste sector” despite prioritising other sectors after it was hit by a ransomware attack.

The organisation said it had prioritised regulatory, monitoring, flood forecasting and warning services after being hit by a “sophisticated and complex ransomware” attack.

The ongoing ransomware attack began on 24 December

It added that the impact on its systems and services had been significant and that recovery would take time.

Importance

Despite focusing elsewhere, SEPA says it “recognises the importance nationally of the waste and recycling industry, and are proactively engaging with stakeholders and the sector”.

It added that it would continue to encourage any organisations or businesses with concerns to report them as early as possible, particularly where there was a significant risk to the environment and communities.

“We have been working hard to get waste services back online and have already confirmed a series of developments through our weekly services status updates in recent weeks,” it added.

SEPA has also published its “approach to the delivery of services”, which outlines what SEPA expects of regulated businesses during the period up to June. It is to share a weekly service status update including the latest information regarding the restoration of services.

Data

SEPA gave details of the ransomware attack, which began on 24 December, in an update in January (see letsrecycle.com story). The environmental regulator said work was underway to analyse the stolen data set.

However, it added it may never know the full details of the 1.2 GB of information stolen in the ongoing ransomware attack that began on 24 December. The information is said to fall into “four broad categories”.

SEPA said that while some of the information stolen will have been publicly available, some will not have been.

It confirmed that staff had been contacted based on the information available and provided being support. A dedicated data loss support website, Police Scotland guidance, enquiry form and support line are available to regulated business and supply chain partners.

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