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School forced to close after cyber attack

A London school was forced to close its doors to pupils after suffering a major cyber attack.

Leytonstone School in Waltham Forest was closed for over a week following the half-term break with only pupils taking GCSEs attending school. All pupils across the other year groups had to resort to online lessons.

The cyber attack has also resulted in a significant amount of personal data being accessed. The school’s Wi-fi was also disabled and phone systems shut down. The main reason that the school had to close, however, was because of a “single central record” being inaccessible that held all the information and vetting checks on staff.

Jessica McQuaid, head teacher of the school said in a letter to parents: “I am incredibly sorry for the short notice but it is illegal for schools to open without this document in place. I am devastated that this IT incident has taken place and impacted the start of the half term for pupils.”

An investigation at the beginning of this year by the BBC highlighted that schools, colleges, and universities are being targeted by an organisation called the Vice Society, which has built up a detailed knowledge of the sector by frequently targeting schools.

James commented: “In our current climate, organisations are more likely to be subject to an attack than not. An establishment should be able to recover from a disaster in a reasonable amount of time and not be at this level of risk if they had the right measures in place. The technology is available to help mitigate the risk, but perhaps more importantly, is that you make staff aware of those risks.

Your weakest line of defence is often your staff. We see this regularly and our advice is always two-pronged, technology and knowledge.”

James Tilbury
Chief Executive Officer
Tel: 01480 501500
Mobile: 07834 850809

Read more articles, blogs and insights from James here>>.

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