Up to 12,000 schools could become targets of cyber-attacks in 2022

14 March 2022

Up to 12,000 schools could become targets of cyber-attacks in 2022

This frightening statistic comes after more than three quarters (78%) of UK head teachers consider their school to be at an increased risk of cybercrime due to remote learning. Cantium Business Solutions conducted a survey into the risk of cyber-attacks and found that almost 12,000 schools are at increased risk of a cyber-attack this year.


Philip Ridley, Head of the Cyber Security Division at IntaForensics, said:

“At IntaForensics we are assisting more and more clients in the Education sector in dealing with the aftermath of cyber-attacks.

As with so many other sectors, the shift to online and remote working has brought with it a number of challenges in regard to security, with many educational establishments not having enough resources or experience to implement sufficient controls. Focusing on getting the basics in place to help mitigate the commodity attacks can be a catalyst for discussions around longer-term security strategy.”

Cyber-attacks on the education sector will cause significant disruption to learning, but also prove to be a huge security threat to thousands of school children. Despite this almost four in ten participants, of which included school staff and IT professionals, did not consider cyber security to be a high priority spend.

Detective Inspector Fiona Bail, Head of Cyber and Innovation at the Eastern Cyber Resilience Centre, said:

“Cybercrime continues to increase and unfortunately there is no evidence that the number or scale of attacks will be decreasing soon.

“Education are key targets due to the sensitive nature of the data that they hold, as well as the complexities of the systems involved, which makes secure figuration and implementation of controls tricky.

“Covid has already placed huge demands on the education sector and having a cyber attack occur, losing access to key files and data, or being unable to teach is a situation that no one wants.”

This security concern is at national level, but secondary schools in the East of England are most at risk. In fact, 84% of schools in the region reported a cyber incident in the past 18 months, compared to the nationwide average of 66% according to FE News.

Mark Scott, CEO at Cantium Business School, added:

“The last year has been particularly challenging for the education sector and it’s clear that the shift to remote learning has left many schools feeling vulnerable and unprepared to protect themselves about cyber criminals.

“As the threat landscape evolves and schools continue to adopt digital technologies, it’s important to invest in cyber security measures, education and expertise that can help protect against malicious activities.

“Cyber security doesn’t just fall down on the IT department, it’s a mindset and level of awareness that helps to prevent cyber-attacks and safeguard staff and pupils.”

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