'Sophisticated' Cyberattack Crippled 15 Schools In The UK


Up until March 4, 2021, more than 4 million people in the UK have been tested positive for the 'COVID-19' coronavirus, and more than 120 thousand have died.

While more than 20 million out of the more than 60 million people in the country have been vaccinated, the UK is still imposing strict rules, urging many to continue working from home, and also studying from home.

And schools in the Nottinghamshire are no exception.

However, it was reported by local publications, that several of the schools reported issues across social media, and needed to close down their IT systems due to the "sophisticated" cyberattack.

It was reported that a threat actor managed to access the Nova Education Trust, an initiative that is part of UK's Education Sector Industry.

As a result, 15 schools that are part of Nova Education Trust have no access to "usual modes of communication such as email, phone and website".

Nottingham University Samworth Academy
Nottingham University Samworth Academy (NUSA) in Bilborough, one of the 15 schools affected by the cyberattack.

The schools that are affected, include:

  1. Toot Hill School.
  2. Nottingham Free School.
  3. Meden School.
  4. The Suthers School
  5. Birklands School.
  6. Victoria Primary School.
  7. Nottingham University Samworth Academy.
  8. Newark Academy.
  9. The Garibaldi School.
  10. Robert Miles Infant School.
  11. Firbeck Academy.
  12. Nottingham University Academy of Science and Technology (NUAST).
  13. Westdale Junior School.
  14. Kirk Hallam Community Academy.
  15. Melton Vale Sixth Form College.

The 15 schools that were impacted by the central cybersecurity incident were not able to provide typical remote learning, and with teachers have been unable to upload learning materials.

Some of the schools had some workarounds, like pivoting to SMS messages, temporary phone numbers, and Microsoft Teams, in order to keep lesson disruption down to a very minimum.

During the downtime, students have been encouraged to not access any documents that have been shared by the schools in recent days.

Schools that are affected are issuing statements on the next day, with many saying that they are "working around the clock" to resolve the issues.

At this point, or at least initially, there is no indication to suggest that any personal data was breached as a result of the hack.

A spokesman for Nova Education Trust said that:

"Nova Education Trust has today been subject to a sophisticated cyber attack, which has resulted in unauthorised access to the trust’s IT infrastructure.

"This has resulted in the temporary shutdown of all the trust’s IT systems as a security precaution, whilst the incident is being investigated by the central IT team to determine the origin of the attack and its potential impact.

"At this time, the trust and its schools have no access to standard methods of communication such as telephones or email whilst investigations are ongoing. All schools’ websites will also be offline until further notice.

"Therefore, the schools will be unable to provide remote teaching today or upload new learning resources to its students. Alternative provisions for today’s teaching have been put in place.

"The incident has been reported to the Department for Education and the Information Commissioner’s Office, and the trust is currently working with the National Cyber Security Centre and additional security professionals to resolve the matter.

"All trust employees have been advised to take the necessary precautions."