As more and more US schools are being targeted by cyberattacks from the past few days, Britain’s National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), a cyber arm of GCHQ has issued a warning to all Universities operating across the UK that there is a high probability that their critical infrastructure might also be targeted by hackers or state-funded actors.
NCSC specifically mentioned in their warning that most of the attacks might be of ransomware genre where the hacker steals data and then encrypts it until a ransom is paid. If the victim denies paying a ransom, then the attacker threatens the victim to leak the data on the dark web that could tarnish the company in the business arena affecting its clientele base or its share price at the stock market.
The Govt funded Cyber Security center said that it has seen an increase in ransomware attacks throughout August and so is encouraging educational institutes to take adequate measures such as taking data backup at regular intervals and educating their staff not to open email attachments sent from unknown senders.
“This criminal targeting at the educational sector, particularly at this challenging time is reprehensible”, says Paul Chichester, the Director for NCSC. He is urging all the IT staff of schools, colleges, and universities to step-up their measures against cyber attacks, as it can affect an academic year of young minds through disruption.
David Corke, the director of education and skills policy at the Association of Colleges, said that the past six months have been crucial for those involved in the education and health sector. And in such circumstances, protecting the digital infrastructure from cybercriminals has become a necessity than just a business continuity ploy.