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NCSC reports spike in cyber attacks on education sector


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has published an alert to education establishments of a surge in cyber attacks.

It said that since late February there has been a spike in criminals targeting schools, colleges and universities and that it recommends a ‘defence in depth’ strategy to counter the threat.

This comes after reports of attacks on various establishments, including Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Central Lancashire, the University of Northampton and the Nova Education Trust.

The NCSC said the operational details cannot be disclosed but that there is no reason to suspect the same criminal actor has been behind each attack, which have caused varying levels of disruption.

Its alert includes guidance with an emphasis on mitigating malware and ransomware.


Director of operations Paul Chichester said: “Any targeting of the education sector by cyber criminals is completely unacceptable.

“This is a growing threat and we strongly encourage schools, colleges, and universities to act on our guidance and help ensure their students can continue their education uninterrupted.

“We are committed to ensuring the UK education sector is resilient against cyber threats, and have published practical resources to help establishments improve their cyber security and response to cyber incidents.”

The NCSC previously reported an increase in ransomware attacks on the UK education sector in August and September 2020.

Image from NCSC, Open Government Licence v3.0


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