There’s been another spike in attacks on schools and universities
In the UK and US, ransomware attacks targeting schools, colleges, universities, and other academic institutions are on the rise again. The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) recently released an advisory that comes amid the aftermath of significant ransomware attacks across the world last month, including those targeting the US’s Colonial Pipeline, meat supplier JBS, and Ireland’s Health Service. The NCSC has previously warned about these targeted ransomware attacks, however, May and early June have seen another increase in incidents at a critical time of year for students’ coursework, exams, and other academic commitments.
In the US, schools such as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute were forced to postpone or cancel exams following a ransomware attack on the institution. Ransomware incidents have affected education and have led to the loss of student coursework, school financial testing, and data related to students’ and employees’ Covid-19 testing. The NCSC states that it is critical that senior leaders understand and acknowledge the potential for ransomware to cause damage to academic institutions in terms of loss of data and access to critical services.