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UK Schools Suffer Rise in Cyber-Attacks: Government Data Reveals

Cyber-attacks on UK schools have increased in the last year

The cyber-attacks have disrupted many aspects of students’ school life. The disruption includes cancelled lessons and long lunchtime queues.

According to a BBC report, “New figures from the Information Commissioner’s Office, external (ICO) show 347 cyber incidents were reported in the education and childcare sector in 2023 – an increase of 55% on 2022.”

Government data suggests “most schools and colleges have identified a cyber-security breach in the past year.”

You can read the full BBC report here

How were the hacks detected?

Brockington College, based in Leicester, first noticed the breach of its systems when computer cursors started “moving remotely across their screen, with files already open on the computers, when they first logged on at the start of the school day.”

Embrace Multi-Academy Trust (who manages Brockington College), CEO Sharon Mullins said: “The whole thing feels very sinister.”

When the attack was discovered, all nine schools at the trust were ordered to take all their systems down.

“You’re basically telling every teacher across the trust that whatever they had planned that day, they can no longer teach with immediate effect.”

What has been the Government’s response?

A DfE spokesperson said the government was increasing school funding to “the highest level ever in real terms per pupil, to support school leaders to meet their costs”. An ICO spokesperson said their data suggests that cyber threats are increasing year on year but said they had “a wealth of free advice and resources” available to support schools with keeping their systems secure.

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