During August and September there has been a series of ransomware attacks at a number of individual colleges, college groups and universities.
Jisc has been working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to investigate the incidents and backs the release today of NCSC ransomware guidance for IT and security staff at schools and further and higher education providers.
While the spike in ransomware attacks over the past few weeks has been widely reported in the media1, Jisc data indicates that education institutions are usually subject to a rise in cyber attacks at the beginning of each term and particularly at the start of each academic year.
Director of e-infrastructure at Jisc, Steve Kennett, says:
“Cyber threats evolve constantly, and the education and research community need to work constantly to stay ahead of the curve and reduce the risks. Right now, that means following the NCSC’s ransomware advice.
Ransomware works by preventing users from accessing systems or the data held on them, which is often encrypted, deleted or stolen. Typically, a ransom demand follows, demanding money in return for regaining system access or to prevent the publication of data on public-facing ‘dark web’ sites.
These attacks can be devastating, causing serious disruption, not to mention financial and reputational damage. I urge all colleges and universities to act swiftly to ensure their systems and data are robustly protected.”
Note to members
There is further advice for colleges and universities in this blog post on the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CiSP) website. The blog, written by Jisc's cyber security team, summarises recent ransomware activity and provides answers to questions that were raised by Jisc members at a series of recent briefings.
Any organisation that does not have access to CiSP should contact Janet CSIRT (email@example.com).
If you experience a ransomware attack, or any cyber security incident, please contact Janet CSIRT, where our security analysts are available to offer advice and technical help.
Even if you don’t require any specific assistance, please still notify Janet CSIRT as your incident may be part of a wider campaign and collective intelligence may well be useful across the sector.
For further information, see the Janet security policy.
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- 1 Computer Weekly article: NCSC steps up ransomware support for schools and universities - www.computerweekly.com/news/252489125/NCSC-steps-up-ransomware-support-f...