An alert warning of further ransomware attacks on the UK’s education sector has been issued by the NCSC after a notable rise in cases over the past week.
The NCSC previously reported increases in ransomware attacks on the UK education sector in September 2020 and March this year, and has updated this alert in line with the latest activity.
Ransomware is a type of malware which can make data or systems unusable until the victim makes a payment, which can have a significant impact in an education environment.
More recently, there has been a trend for cyber criminals to also threaten to release sensitive data stolen from the network during the attack, if the ransom is not paid. There are many high-profile cases where the cyber criminals have followed through with their threats by releasing sensitive data to the public, often via “name and shame” websites on the darknet.
Alongside acting on the mitigation advice contained within the alert, the NCSC strongly emphasises the need for organisations in the sector to protect their networks from attack.
The NCSC has produced a number of practical resources to help educational institutions improve their cyber security, and they are encouraged to take advantage of our Exercise in a Box tool which helps organisations test and practice their response to a cyber attack in a safe environment.
Organisations in the sector are advised to sign up to the NCSC’s free Early Warning service, which is designed to inform organisations of potential cyber attacks on their network as soon as possible.