The 2023 Cyber Security Breaches survey showed nearly half of all primary schools and 63% of secondary schools had identified cyber breaches or attacks in the 12 months between May 2022 and April 2023.
Phishing attacks were by far the most common type of breach or attack identified, followed by online impersonation, then viruses, spyware, or malware. More often than not, these types of attacks initiate a malware request or a link to enable the cybercriminal to capture critical credentials, which in turn leads to more serious ransomware crime.
A ransomware attack consists of malicious software intended to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. These attacks are far from harmless.
To help combat ransomware, as part of the DfE’s Minimum Broadband Standards, schools should backup all their data. That means creating copies of files and storing them in a separate location, so even if your original files are encrypted or compromised by ransomware, you can still access your data and restore it to its original state.
- Data Recovery: When your files are encrypted by ransomware, the only reliable way to regain access to them is through data recovery. By having a recent backup, you can restore your files to their pre-attack state, minimising the impact of the ransomware on your operations. This helps you avoid the need to pay the ransom, as you can restore your data from a secure backup source. By regularly scanning your backups for any signs of malicious software, you can be confident that your restored data will not reintroduce threats to your system when recovering from a ransomware attack.
- Minimise Downtime: Ransomware attacks can cause significant disruption in schools. Without access to files, loss of critical information can result in whole school closures. By regularly backing up your data, you can minimise downtime and quickly resume normal operations after a ransomware attack.
- Protection Against Data Loss: Ransomware attacks can result in permanent data loss if the encrypted files are not recovered or if the ransom is not paid. By backing up your data, you create a safety net that protects your valuable information from being permanently destroyed. Even if the worst-case scenario happens, and you are unable to recover the encrypted files, you can rely on your backups to ensure that your data is not lost forever.
- Secure and Reliable Storage: When backing up your data, it is crucial to choose a secure and reliable backup solution. Cloud-based backup services, for example, offer excellent protection against ransomware attacks. They typically have advanced security measures in place, such as encryption, redundancy, and access controls, which safeguard your data from unauthorised access. Additionally, storing backups in an off-site location ensures that they are safe, even if your primary system is compromised.
- Peace of Mind: Knowing that your data is backed up and protected provides peace of mind. Ransomware attacks can be stressful and extremely challenging. Having backups in place allows you to restore your data in the event of an attack. This peace of mind allows you to focus on preventive measures and running your school.
By implementing a regular backup strategy and utilising secure storage solutions, you can significantly mitigate the impact of ransomware attacks and safeguard valuable data. Prevention is key, and backing up your data is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself against the growing threat of ransomware.
If you have any questions about keeping your school’s data more secure, call us on 01133 222 333 (option 3) or visit our web page for more information.
Together we can tackle cybercriminals and stay cyber secure!