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Expert Comment: Vulnerable educational institutions/UK high school cyber attack

September 2023 by Dr Darren Williams, CEO and Founder at Blackfog

News has emerged this morning that the IT systems in Debenham High School of Suffolk have been hit by a cyber attack, resulting in all of its computer facilities going offline.
Dr Darren Williams, CEO and Founder of Blackfog comments.

As Darren Williams quite rightly points out in his comment below, the attack highlights how vulnerable the Education sector is to cyber attacks. In fact, it is one of the most heavily targeted sectors this year – educational institutions, parents and pupils alike have a role to play in keeping such attacks to a minimum…

Dr Darren Williams, CEO and Founder of Blackfog comments, “Although little is known regarding the specifics of the unfortunate attack on Debenham High School in Suffolk, cyberthreats remain highly pertinent to the education sector. In 2023 so far, Education has been one of the most heavily targeted sectors; ruthless cyber attackers continue to target vulnerable schools with under-invested IT infrastructure, a lack of controls and outdated cybersecurity tools.

In light of the ‘Back2School’ rush in the forthcoming weeks, both schools and parents/pupils alike have a responsibility to play to ensure cyberattacks are kept to a minimum, and any incidents that do happen are under control:

• Educational institutions must ensure they have an adequate incident response plan established, and implement preventative cybersecurity tools, such as anti-data exfiltration, to minimise damage by potential attacks and ensure that sensitive data does not fall into the wrong hands.
• Parents and pupils can help reduce the ability for attackers to get in to school networks by ensuring they don’t share or re-use passwords to any school portals/email addresses and avoid clicking on suspicious links sent to their inbox.”

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