UK schools hit by cyber criminals

The Vice Society ransomware gang, which has previously attacked educational institutions in the USA, has now appeared to have struck multiple schools, colleges and universities in the UK. The Vice Society has leaked a large volume of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of Pupils and Staff at 14 UK schools and universities, including children’s special educational needs (SEN) information, scanned passport data for school trips, and details of staff payroll and contracts.


These latest attacks demonstrate the importance of the vigorous cyber security measures that need to be put in place; schools are being targeted because they have complicated IT requirements and often a very limited budget, which can make them a soft target. They also have lots of sensitive data to protect, so are susceptible to ransom attack.

Strong cyber security doesn’t have to be expensive! We would recommend taking the following steps as a minimum to protect your education establishment:

  • Enabling Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) on all users with access to sensitive data.
  • Keep your systems up to date – a lot of the security enhancements required to protect your network are included at no additional cost.
  • Review your permissions – who has access to what? Often a breach could have been mitigated if the appropriate restrictions had been put in place.
  • Train your staff – staff trained in how to operate securely are your first and most effective line of defence.

Schools with limited cyber security capabilities and constrained resources are often the most vulnerable; however, the opportunistic targeting often seen with cyber criminals, can still put schools with robust cybersecurity programs at risk.

From our experience of designing, installing and supporting IT networks for schools up and down the country, we appreciate how technology plays an increasingly important part in both the classroom and the administrative function of schools and we know that a robust network is vital.

If you want to discuss any of the above and for more suggestions please get in touch with us here and we will be happy to help.

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