• Steve Cullen

Schools do suffer malicious data breaches!

People often ask me whether schools do get attacked by cyber criminals. The answer is clearly "yes" although obviously they wouldn't be a lucrative market for ransom attacks when compared to big businesses!

A clear indication of how it can affect a school can be seen from the case outlined below, which happened recently to Welland Park Academy in Market Harborough, Leicestershire.

An unnamed 28-year-old man was arrested after allegedly carrying out what police have labelled a "sophisticated cyber attack" on the school. A police spokesman told a local news website that "Officers received a report of a major IT outage at the school on Monday, 18th January that prevented the school from delivering remote learning and accessing material to support the children of keyworkers and vulnerable children who are attending school." The man was arrested on suspicion of breaching the Computer Misuse Act and it is believed hard drives were wiped of all their contents, although there is no evidence so far that data was extracted from the school's systems before the data was destroyed.

It must be stated that cyber attacks on educational institutions that result in charges are relatively rare. A 25-year-old Bradford man was arrested in 2019 after students were duped into paying fraudulent invoices appearing to have been sent by Lancaster University, after the university's systems were compromised.

Obviously schools need to be vigilant and always look into any issues that look potentially dodgy or unusual.

Be on your guard!

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