Schools cyber warning: Spy chiefs issue security alert

Schools cyber warning: Spy chiefs issue security alert after hackers carry out blackmail attacks on colleges Spy chiefs warn that schools and universities face growing threat from hackers  The National Cyber Security Centre, part of GCHQ, issued an alert to institutions They warned of an increase in attacks around the start of the new academic year

By Larisa Brown Defence And Security Editor For The Daily Mail

Published: 00:00 BST, 17 September 2020 | Updated: 00:01 BST, 17 September 2020

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Schools, colleges and universities face a growing threat from hackers, spy chiefs warned last night.

The National Cyber Security Centre, part of GCHQ, issued an alert to institutions about an increase in attacks around the start of the new academic year.

They warned the education sector to be aware of 'ransomware' blackmail attempts and urged organisations to follow guidance on securing their networks.

The cyber centre said it had seen an increase in attempted attacks on education establishments throughout August. 

These often involved ransomware which criminals use to encrypt data before demanding payment for its recovery.

The National Cyber Security Centre, part of GCHQ, issued an alert to institutions about an increase in attacks around the start of the new academic year (pictured: GCHQ centre)

The National Cyber Security Centre, part of GCHQ, issued an alert to institutions about an increase in attacks around the start of the new academic year (pictured: GCHQ centre)

They warned the education sector to be aware of 'ransomware' blackmail attempts and urged organisations to follow guidance on securing their networks (file image)

They warned the education sector to be aware of 'ransomware' blackmail attempts and urged organisations to follow guidance on securing their networks (file image)

The NCSC has encouraged institutions to take immediate steps such as ensuring all data is backed up and copies are stored offline to prevent information loss in the event of an attack.

As part of the alert, the centre says it has stepped up support for schools, colleges and universities, including offering guidance on how to best protect themselves and improve their understanding of cyber security.

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