Concerns Over Cyber Attacks Growing Among UK Schools

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As the new term approaches, schools across the United Kingdom are grappling with a rising threat – cyberattacks. Many institutions, whether they are gearing up to open their doors or have already commenced preparations, are finding it increasingly challenging to utilize digital services for curriculum planning, class scheduling, and student management.

Several schools have fallen victim to this concerning trend. Among them are St Augustine Academy in Maidstone, Kent, Highgate Wood School, Crouch End School in North London, and the Berkshire Schools group. Shockingly, more than 60% of these schools have fallen prey to ransomware attacks, while others have suffered various forms of cyberattacks.

Notably, a majority of these attacks have specifically targeted secondary schools that had originally planned to reopen on September 5th but had to postpone their reopening to September 11th due to digital assaults and technical difficulties.

One incident involved a notorious ransomware gang targeting Debenham High School, which led to the school’s management isolating infected systems. This disruption severely impacted the school’s IT infrastructure and management for an entire week. As a result, the school’s administration now faces a daunting challenge in deciding how to proceed with the academic year, which has been put on hold.

According to an update from Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), school managements are bombarded with threatening emails every week, including bomb scares and ransomware threats. However, upon investigation, it is revealed that only 1% of these alarming emails turn out to be legitimate threats, with the majority being likely pranks by students seeking to disrupt the start of the school term.

Typically, hackers aim to steal valuable data that they can monetize on the dark web if their attempts to extort their victims fail.

The best approach to address this growing concern is to adopt proactive measures, including educating both students and staff on basic cyber hygiene practices when accessing online content. Ultimately, the responsibility for safeguarding networks from prying eyes lies with dedicated security teams and robust software solutions.

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Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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