Third of schools lack cybersecurity policies, suggests survey

The report highlights major cybersecurity gaps in the practices of some British educational institutes ahead of high-risk summer months

Cybersecurity company, Bitdefender, charity SWGfl, and the Institute of Cyber Security for Society at the University of Kent, have released the Cyber Security in UK Schools report, suggesting many schools and universities are at high risk of cyberattacks.

Survey figures from the report suggest that nearly a third (31%) of UK schools are without an IT security policy, while over half (62%) of schools lack any cybersecurity training.

The Cyber Security in UK Schools report is based on a survey and analysis of 183 responses from 174 different schools.

These schools are taken from 126 different local authorities representing a total of 66,800 students across independent institutions, academies, local authority and religious schools.

This finding could mean that many UK educational institutions are unaware of current risks they may have to ransomware, phishing, social engineering, third-party data expose and others, and no approach in place to protect key data assets.

Risk and business continuity plans are underdeveloped in 54% of respondents, with just over a third of schools updating their cyber disaster recovery plans regularly.

Daniel O’Neill, director of managed detection and response security operations at Bitdefender, said: “Our findings depict a startling absence of basic cybersecurity training for staff, poor planning and policy making, and a general lack of understanding around ransomware, credential theft and other key dangers.

“Cybercriminals look for easy targets where defences are perceived low and potential payout is high.

“The education sector is a favoured target because of intellectual property, student credentials and other critical assets available to either steal or hold ransom. This report should act as a wake-up call for schools around the country to get their cyber house in order.”

Read more: College combats digital poverty with laptop lend

Leave a Reply

Free live webinar & QA

The digital difference - Build a culture of reading with ebooks & audiobooks

Free Education Webinar with OverDrive

Friday, June 24, 2PM London BST

In this webinar, hear from Havant Academy Librarian Joanna Parsons to learn how she uses ebooks and audiobooks to help boost reading among her secondary students.