Cyber attackers demand £15m British schools they hacked over Christmas

Hacky new year! Cyber attackers demand £15 million in ransom money from British schools they hacked over the Christmas holidays which left hundreds of teachers locked out of their computers at the start of term

  • Hackers demanded a ransom of £15million after hitting schools over Christmas
  • At least 16 schools are affected, with teachers left unable to use their computers
  • The online gang is thought to have demanded the money in cryptocurrency

Hackers have demanded £15million in ransom money after hitting at least 16 British schools over the Christmas holidays.

Teachers returning to work this week were left unable to log in to their computers after the attack by the online gang.

The incident, which has been described as a ‘nightmare’ at the start of the new year, has affected 15 schools at Hope Sentamu Learning Trust.

Hymers College, an independent school in Hull which charges fees of up to £13,000-a-year, was also hit with the demand to pay the ransom in the form of cryptocurrency.

Hymers College in Kingston upon Hull was one of the schools affected by the online attack

Hackers targeting the schools demanded a £15million ransom to reverse the damage caused 

A source at one of the schools told the Sun staff had been told they can’t use the school network, with lessons having to be planned using pen and paper.

Hope Sentamu Learning Trust told the paper it had turned off some of its systems, but that some have already been brought back online.

A spokesperson said: ‘We take the security of our IT systems extremely seriously.’

In a statement given to the Sun, Hymers College said: ‘We quickly became aware of the incident and responded immediately and appropriately, working with all the correct authorities.’

In a ransomware attack hackers targeting an IT network and often disable it or take it offline, before demanding money or a reward for turning it back on again. Experts recommend never caving in to these demands.

It is not the first time hackers have targeted schools in the UK – in July 2021 six schools on the Isle of Wight saw their IT servers crippled after an online gang attacked. 

Lanesend Primary (pictured), one of the six schools affected by a hack in July 2021 on the Isle of White, announced that pupils would return three days later than planned due to the disruption

At least one school in the Island Education Federation was forced to delay the start of term, with suggestions it would take ‘months of work’ to retrieve the lost information.

A spokesman for the group said at the time: ‘We are working with officers from the police cybercrime unit to pursue the cyber criminals and understand the full impact of the attack. 

‘There are obviously some significant implications of this, which we are managing and will take measures to secure our systems even further in the future.’ 

And in March that year 37,000 pupils at Harris Federation academies in London were left unable to access their emails after a similar attack. 

Source: Read Full Article