Subscribe to our free fortnightly newsletter and stay ahead with the latest news in edtech

Schools hit by ransomwares demands

Schools Broadband warn about potential ransomware methods and advises what to do if your school receives an attempted attack

Posted by Hannah Vickers | February 07, 2017 | E-safety

Action Fraud recently issued warnings to schools against fraudsters posing as government officials in attempts to hold computer files to ransom. 

Numerous attempts to inflict ransomware on school systems have recently been made, making the message to schools loud and clear: ensure you have the best possible endpoint protection, educate your staff and be vigilant. Falling victim to this malicious cybercrime will be costly and will wreak utter havoc.

But what is ransomware, how does it work and how can you protect your school against it?

Ransomware is a form of malware (malicious code) that affects ‘endpoints’, or computer devices. There are two main types of malware: one which inhibits the operation of your device, including the boot-up process, and one which encrypts the user files, making it impossible to use your files or emails unless you agree to pay the ransom, or unless you have a back-up.

The most common ransomware methodology is phishing, via emails. The emails contain malicious links or files, which when clicked execute malicious code. Some emails do not need to be opened for encryption to take place, when files become unusable and pop-up messages demand payment. Users also need to be wary of clicking on unsuspecting links or websites which can also initiate ransomware.

Ransom payments are made via bit coins. Often instructions on how to purchase bit coins accompany the ransomware, however it is strongly advised NOT to pay the ransom. This fuels the cyberattack infrastructure and there is no guarantee you will be able to use your files again.

Ransomware is constantly changing so is difficult to detect and offenders are continuously testing new ransomwares against the world’s top security. Exploit kits are used to detect vulnerabilities in systems, especially those that have outdated protection. Once discovered, they are immediately exploited by infecting the system with malware.

Schools Broadband, specialist broadband, web filtering and security providers, recommend a combination of Fortinet Network Security, which all their schools are protected by, and Sophos Endpoint Security. They say this is the best security combination available, and as ransomware is a very real problem which is growing in volume and velocity, the importance of extra endpoint protection should not be underestimated. 

● Do NOT open unsolicited emails, attachments or SMS messages

● Do NOT pay the ransom

● Report any scam or attack to: www.actionfraud.police.uk

For more information on Sophos Endpoint Security contact Schools Broadband on 01133 222 333 or info@schoolsbroadband.co.uk

Subscribe to our free fortnightly newsletter and stay ahead with the latest news in edtech

Related stories

E-safety in schools: Graeme Lawrie & Sarah Williamson

E-safety in schools: Al Kingsley

Expert: Making school eSafety practical and effective

The June/July issue of Education Technology is here!

Education strikes back with data backup and recovery

On the high seas of HE, don't be held to ransom

How can the WannaCry virus hurt HE?

How to introduce Bring Your Own Device in schools

State-of-the-art school catering with Brookwood

How risk-proof are your school's IT systems?

Market place - view all

Prodisplay

Pro Display was born to innovate, changing the face of visual displ...

AVG

AVG Antivirus offers a range of products that are ideal for Educati...

Schools Broadband

Schools Broadband is one of the UK's largest specialist providers o...

Nationwide

Award winning online banking: whether it's current accounts, credit...

Moxton Education

The Moxton Group is a specialist organisation focused in the Educat...

Saville

We are Saville Audio Visual - AV with a Difference
Saville is...