Following a cyber-attack on the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) on Christmas Eve 2020, members of the public are once again able to access river level data.
Since the attack, the data was only available to SEPA staff to ensure continued delivery of important national flood forecasting including flood alerts and warnings.
Head of Hydrology at SEPA, Vincent Fitzsimmons said: “We appreciate how valuable our river level data is, from those planning leisure activities to people looking for additional information during flooding.
“Flood Alerts and Warnings are always the most up-to-date information, but when river levels are very high and warnings are out we know residents use the site to see whether levels upstream are continuing to rise or have started to fall.
“Since the cyber-attack on Christmas Eve our staff have worked as quickly as possible to restore public access, and this is an important step in the restoration of information that we know people use.”
Early in 2021, SEPA published its ‘Approach to the Delivery of Services’ plan which addressed issues like running the organisation during the pandemic, the implications of shifting to a post EU system and how to keep the focus on the climate emergency and major environmental challenges that must be tackled.
SEPA is also working with Police Scotland investigating the theft of data that occurred on 24th December 2020 where 1.2GB of data was taken.
A dedicated team of cybersecurity experts has been established to identify the data stolen and contact those affected as soon as possible and mitigate any risk that arises from the theft.
SEPA’s river gauging network consists of over 350 sites. At present, between 10 and 15 per cent of stations data is not being displayed. The organisation continues to work to bring these back online with new sites being added daily.