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Defra air quality website back online after hack

Government air quality website containing advice on pollution levels and forecasts across the UK now fully back up and running after it was hacked by an Islamist political group in April

The government’s air quality website designed to provide advice on pollution levels and forecasts across the UK is now fully back up and running after it was hacked by an Islamist political group back in April.

Defra's UK Air website came back online today (May 13) after it was hacked five weeks ago

Defra’s UK Air website came back online today (May 13) after it was hacked five weeks ago

The UK Air website, operated by contractors Ricardo-AEA, was shut down by Defra for more than five weeks after a security breach on April 7, which saw the website replaced with an image of a flag depicting former Iraq ruler Saddam Hussein and a message criticising the UK government (see AirQualityNews.com story).

During the five-week period, visitors to the site were only able to view a landing page featuring a UK-wide five day air pollution forecast, with air quality reports and the usual readily-available information on pollution levels at each monitoring site across the UK inaccessible.

However, the website came back online this afternoon (May 13), showing current air pollution across the UK in the ‘low’ banding, a situation which is expected to continue for the next five days.

During the period in which the website was offline, the UK suffered an episode of high particulate matter pollution in April (see AirQualityNews.com story) and there was a Supreme Court hearing culminating in the government being ordered to draw up a new air quality plan to meet nitrogen dioxide objectives by the end of the year (see AirQualityNews.com story).

Defra’s UK Air twitter account confirmed earlier today that the website is now back online, adding: “Thank you for your understanding during this period.”

A Defra spokeswoman commented: “The Defra UK Air website is back online following comprehensive security checks.

“The website was taken offline after it was hacked as a precaution whilst these checks were carried out. During this time health advice, pollution notifications and air quality forecasts were made available via the website’s holding page.”

Related Links:

Defra’s UK Air website

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