How to safeguard schools in cyber security crosshairs

No longer confined to the shadows, cyber security threats continue to wreak havoc throughout a growing number of targeted institutions. With complacency no longer an option, here’s more on the need for organisations to remain vigilant and stay on high alert…

In an age where the digital realm has seamlessly intertwined with our everyday lives, the insidious threat of cyber breaches looms larger than ever. The cyber security landscape has become a battleground, where ‘bad actors’ orchestrate calculated attacks, leaving individuals, businesses, and even educational institutions vulnerable and exposed.

Schools now find themselves in the crosshairs of growing cyber threats — with recent events highlighting the pressing need for increased vigilance and strengthened security. Here are two remarkable cases that have hit the headlines recently, offering a stark reminder of the importance of being one step ahead…

Education under siege at UK schools

Hardenhuish School, nestled in the quaint town of Chippenham, is one of the latest institutions to have found itself at the mercy of cyber attackers. Chaos ensued as hackers infiltrated the school's IT network, compromising sensitive information and disrupting critical operations, before demanding a ransom in return for restored access, while the institution reverted to using old-fashioned paper registers. It was only in January earlier this year that data from 14 UK schools had been leaked online too.

Offering advice for the sector, Vapour CEO Tim Mercer said: “This recent breach serves as a stark reminder that even the sanctuaries of learning are not immune to the relentless onslaught of cybercrime. Bad actors know the vulnerabilities that schools face all too well — with the lack of funding and robust preventative measures, as well as the availability of high-value databases, providing a catalyst for growing ransomware attempts.

“Paying up might seem like an easy way out, but schools should never put their hands in their pockets. As well as placing themselves as a target for further attacks, it provides no guarantee of data recovery, and funds the criminal activities that we’re so desperate to halt.”

Leytonstone School in Waltham Forest has also been forced to close since half term, after it was targeted in a ‘critical incident’ that resulted in a ‘significant amount’ of personal data being accessed. The school’s WiFi and phone system is still out of operation, but it’s the lack of access to a document known as a ‘single central record’ — which contains information and vetting checks of all staff — that has left the institution unable to open.

Watchdog's alarm for pension funds and data vulnerability

The relentless march of cybercrime does not discriminate, as even the sacred domain of pension funds has come under attack. In a shocking revelation, a recent Watchdog report warned about the vulnerabilities of pension funds in the wake of a devastating hack on leading provider of business process services, Capita.

The global organisation administers the pensions of more than four million savers on behalf of 450 organisations. This breach may have only compromised a small number of servers, but it shows how cyber criminals continue to unravel the very fabric of trust that underpins our financial security. It is an alarming wake-up call for both pension providers and individuals, highlighting the urgent need for fortified cyber defences within the financial sector.

The shield against cyber incursions 

As the frequency and sophistication of cyber breaches continue to escalate, companies find themselves grappling with an ever-evolving threat landscape. However, those who stand tall against the storm have an unparalleled advantage. As a Fortinet partner, Vapour is primed to provide cutting-edge software-focused solutions and empower firms with robust cyber security defences — ensuring that they remain ahead of the curve in this turbulent era. 

Get in touch to discuss your organisations’ unique requirements, and explore more about the SD-WAN licences we have available.

Posted By Vapour Comms Team

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