An Academy in Dorset has had its GCSE coursework data held ransom by a group of Chinese cyber criminals. The attack took place about two weeks ago at the Sir John Colfox Academy in Bridport. The ransomware attack began when a staff member opened an email which contained a virus. The email the school received appeared to be from a member of staff at another school in Dorset.
Schools are a prime target for cyber criminals and ransomware attacks because they will have the funds to pay a ransom and very often will have no choice but to do so.
The DfE mentioned that they were unaware of the situation and that they have been helping the National Cyber Security Centre to gather more data on Cyber – Attacks across multiple schools in the UK.
Police experts say that the hackers transferred the virus onto a German server, which was then passed onto the school system. A full investigation is taking place and the Cyber Crime unit are assisting the school in getting their important data back.
The school has mentioned to parents in a letter that the GCSE coursework is currently inaccessible due to encryption. They have also mentioned that product design and food preparation coursework has been lost and that the school’s ICT team and a specialist police unit are trying to recover the data as we speak.
The BBC News Website has recently reported that around 20% of schools in the UK have said that they have been victims of Cyber – Attacks.
Since the incident, the school has not transferred any money to the hackers.