20% of UK Schools Are Threatened by Cyber Attacks

4 years ago



In case you didn’t know, of educational institutions in the UK have suffered from cyber attacks. Schools hold a lot of sensitive data and, at the same time, are absolutely unprotected from hacker attacks. Very often, teachers and parents are ill-equipped against cyber thefts. Meanwhile, children’s medical records stolen from personal computers are lucrative on the dark web.

What Are the Popular Types of Attacks?

The research conducted by Ecclesiastical Insurance suggests that malware and phishing are the most popular types of cyber attacks. It has been discovered that approximately 20% of schools have been targeted by hackers. On the contrary, higher education institutions have better protection against cyber attacks than schools.

According to Faith Parish, the expert at Ecclesiastical, there has recently been an increase in ransomware and malware attacks at schools. Looking for “soft targets” hackers use phishing which aims at “tricking others into providing information.” Another type of malicious attack is  “whaling,” where a finance director or bursar is lured into transferring big sums of money.

Here are a few outrageous examples of cyber attacks on schools:

  • In February, three Blackpool schools suffered from a cyber attack. The CCTV cameras footage from the schools was live streamed on an unnamed US website. The footage was taken offline an hour after the school administration became aware of the security mistake.
  • In 2017, Edmodo known as the “Facebook for schools” app was hacked. As a result, personal details belonging to millions of educators, students, and their family members using Edmodo, were reportedly on sale on the dark web. The platform has over 2M British users.

How To Protect Schools From Hackers?

The Department for Education has been urged by Jen Persson, director of the campaign group Defend Digital Me, to issue a cybersecurity guidance for schools to help them safeguard sensitive data. According to the Independent Schools' Bursars Association (ISBA), the problem of cyber attacks is becoming much more than a separate incident.

Currently, the ISBA is being "proactive" at warning school managers and parents about the cybercrime. The Association supporting senior management stuff in over 1,000 schools believes high fees and inefficient online security are to blame for such hacker activity.

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