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NCSC issues cybersecurity alert after rise in attacks on UK schools and universities
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NCSC issues cybersecurity alert after rise in attacks on UK schools and universities

Tim Deakin

Written by Tim Deakin

18th September 2020

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The academic sector is on high alert following a surge of online attacks against educational establishments

The National Cyber Security Centre has stated that it is increasing its support for schools, colleges and universities in the UK, in the wake of a spate of online attacks that could potentially throw new-term preparations into chaos.

The stark warning to the education sector includes advice on key steps that should be taken to keep cybercriminals out of institutions’ networks. Reports of several high profile attacks on education establishments in recent weeks have raised concerns that significant damage is being caused to some of the UK’s academic institutions at an already-difficult time.

These attacks have included the encryption of an institution’s data by cybercriminals – who then demand money in return for re-releasing the data. Among the universities thought to have been hit in August is Newcastle University.

Strong data protection is more important than ever

As schools and universities welcome pupils and students for a new term, the NCSC is urging them to take immediate steps to protect their data, including making sure that data is backed up both on and offline. Establishments are also urged to read the NCSC’s newly updated guidelines on mitigating malware and ransomware attacks, and to develop a strong incident response plan.

Director of Operations at the NCSC, Paul Chichester, said:

“I strongly urge all academic institutions to take heed of our alert and put in place the steps we suggest, to help ensure young people are able to return to education undisrupted. We are absolutely committed to ensuring UK academia is as safe as possible from cyber threats, and will not hesitate to act when that threat evolves.”

How we can help

With the emphasis of the NCSC on swift action to improve cyber resilience and take a proactive approach to information security, the team here at SRM are offering our help and support to any school, college or university concerned about potential threats to their digital estate. As a cyber security consultancy, we offer a complete portfolio of services, including incident response support and resilience training, alongside advanced penetration testing and vulnerability scanning.

If you would like to know more about how we can help, contact us today on 03450 21 21 51 or by clicking here.

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