There has been evidence of a rise in targeted ransomware attacks against the UK education sector by cyber criminals. Some of these attacks have made the mainstream news. Suffolk County Council IT service have put together this advice document to give you the relevant ransomware advice you will need to help protect your school or academy from attacks.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have produced advice for academia (PDF, 586KB). We would recommend that all schools review and act upon the advice immediately, as it will help reduce the threat of ransomware attacks.
Summary of NCSC advice in academia alert
Disrupting ransomware attack vectors:
- Effective vulnerability management and patching procedures
- Secure Remote Desk Protocol (RDP) services using Multi Factor Authentication
- Install and enable Antivirus software
- Implement mechanisms to prevent phishing attacks
- Disable or constrain scripting environments and macros
Enable effective recovery:
- Having up-to-date and tested offline backups. Offline backups are the most effective way to recover from a ransomware attack. Read NCSC’s Offline backups in an online world blog.
- Exercise your response to ransomware and other cyber attacks. Read NCSC’s exercise in a box.
Latest Department for Education guidance on backup
In August 2020, the Department for Education and National Cyber Security Centre (NSCS) shared updated guidance relating to how schools should protect data in light of increased numbers of cyber-attacks and ransomware infections targeting and affecting schools.
The guidance stated that all education providers must have the ability to restore systems and recover data from backups and to ensure that:
- They are backing up the right data
- That backups are held offline
- That they have tested that they can restore services and recover data from backups
Suffolk County Council IT service provides a remote backup service with Redstor who are approved by Capita for the backing up of Capita SIMs data. Read more about Redstor service for schools.
Support from Norfolk and Suffolk Police
John Greenwood is the Cyber Security Advisor for Norfolk and Suffolk Police. He is available to do cyber talks, for free, at your school and can offer some great industry best practice cyber advice. We would recommend getting in touch with John to take up his offer.
Contact John Greenwood to arrange a talk that's customised to your needs:
- at CyberProtect@suffolk.pnn.police.uk
- on 01473 613888 ext. 5275
Read Cyber Protect Choices document (PDF, 571KB).