Posted on December 19, 2016 by Mark Wilson in ICT.
Ransomware is an aggressive form of computer virus that targets your server, encrypts files and then demands a ransom for their release.
The technology driving ransomware – such as the CryptoLocker – is increasingly advanced and difficult to detect. It often targets the human element, relying on tricking a user into interacting with an innocuous looking file or link. Even with regular training, it only takes a single momentary lapse in judgement from a user to result in an infection.
Given the volume of sensitive data that schools hold relating to children and their very strong reliance on data, this represents a significant threat to safeguarding.
Following on from our Top 10 tips to protect your school from computer viruses, below is further advice on safeguarding your school data.
How can ransomware infections occur?
There are four main ways to be aware of:
- Spam and unsolicited email: An easy and popular way for ransomware to spread is via emails and unsolicited email attachments. The emails trick the user into opening it, or opening the attachments (usually by making the content appear enticing for the user).
- Infected removable drives: Malware can spread through removable drives (USB flash drives and external hard drives). It is usually created to automatically install on any machine that it is connected to. If a computer or any other type of device is connected to a network, the malware can spread through the network to other machines.
- Bundled with other software: Ransomware can be bundled together with other software applications that are downloaded and installed. The victim may think they are only downloading a certain legitimate application, not knowing that it is a Trojan horse designed to trick them into activating the malware on their device.
- Compromised webpages: Ransomware can take advantage of software vulnerabilities in order to infect a computer. When the victim visits a compromised or hacked website, the ransomware can utilise pop-ups or other malicious tactics that mimic online advertisements in order to engage with the victim. Sometimes not even a click is needed for the ransomware to covertly seize control of the computer.
Once it has targeted your server, the ransomware will seek and infect all onsite data storage, as depicted above.
How can SBS help?
Service Desk support
If you are concerned that you have been targeted by ransomware or any type of virus, please call us on
0345 222 1551 • Option 1 (existing ICT customers) or 0345 222 1551 • Option 5 (non-ICT customers).
Disaster Recovery Solution – Be proactive and backup your data offsite
The safeguarding of critical data is our primary concern and we don’t want schools to pay to get their files back. With this in mind we have developed a Disaster Recovery Solution to backup, secure and restore data in the event of an attack from ransomware.
For more information, call 0345 222 1551 • Option 5 or email us, and we can recommend the amount of storage you need to backup your files offsite and out of reach of virtual threats.
Further reference – Ransomware and UK institutions
Almost 60% of higher education institutions have suffered an attack in the past year, while a high-profile case involving Lincolnshire County Council resulted in having to shut down their systems for several days and being hit with a £1 million ransom demand.
Given the volume of sensitive data that schools hold relating to children and their very strong reliance on data to function, this represents a significant threat to safeguarding. There are steps that you can take to minimise the risks of ransomware to your establishment and to make sure your school’s data is protected.
Additionally, Bournemouth University has been hit 21 times in one year by ransomware.
Posted on December 15, 2016 by Leyla Tovey in SIMS.
Capita have now released a consolidated exams patch (22509) which adds the newly identified discount codes TA1, TA2 and TA3 as well as correcting JCQ Gradeset 43 and fixing basedata issues previously addressed by patches 22477 and 22357. Please contact us on 0345 222 1551 • Option 3 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like us to apply […]
Posted on December 14, 2016 by Liziy Allen in HR & Payroll.
Workplace issues this Christmas With Christmas just round the corner employers need to prepare for some familiar workplace issues, whether its unauthorised absence over the Christmas period or bad behaviour at the office party. This podcast from XpertHR provides advice on what information schools can send out before the Christmas party to advise employees of […]
Posted on December 13, 2016 by Stephen Dolman in Finance.
Many schools and academies are now in their final week before the Christmas break. But there are still important tasks to complete. Key Deadlines for Academies As we get to the end of the autumn term, there are a number of key actions that academies need to undertake – a summary of these can be […]
Posted on December 9, 2016 by Leyla Tovey in SIMS.
Our step by step Census documentation is available now so that you can get ahead and start preparing for Spring Census day which is on Thursday 19th January. Preparing for the Spring Census Primary, Special & Nursery Schools notes Download now! → Secondary Download now! → Producing the Spring Census Nursery Download now! → Primary Download now! → Secondary Download […]
Posted on December 8, 2016 by Leyla Tovey in SIMS.
Back in the Summer, we published a blog about the new Direct Scan Solution from Brother. Please note this product is currently unavailable from our Procurement service and this blog is now for reference only. To see our full product range visit https://www.schoolbusinessservices.co.uk/procurement-services/ Schools which have introduced this system have said that it has freed […]
Posted on December 7, 2016 by Leyla Tovey in SIMS.
New Version of CAS Key Groups Inspection Dashboard Report This report has now been updated to include the 2016 National figures which have just been published. When imported, the updated report will overwrite the previous version which we notified you of in our blog on 30/09/2016. It is important to be aware that the figures […]
Posted on December 5, 2016 by Richard Page in ICT.
It has been brought to our attention that hackers are targeting school servers What has been happening? The following unusual activity has been reported at a number of schools: Server drive permissions have been targetted with attempted removal Files have been copied between servers It is likely that the school servers have been accessed via schools’ […]
Posted on December 2, 2016 by Leyla Tovey in SIMS.
With Ofsted placing greater emphasis on safeguarding than ever before, it is essential that staff in schools are aware of their responsibilities and have confidence in the monitoring systems that are in place. School safeguarding defined Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people is defined in the Government publication Working together to […]
Posted on November 30, 2016 by Stephen Dolman in HR & Payroll.
The Apprenticeship Levy is a new government initiative announced in the 2015 Summer Budget that will come into force from April 2017. It is in effect a payroll tax that will apply to large organisations – this includes small organisations that are part of a larger organisation such as a local authority or a Multi-Academy […]