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Worries over Haylands Primary School data breach

Posted by Matthew on April 15, 2019 in the following categories: Cybersecurity Hacking News Latest Schools and tagged with | | |

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There are concerns as to whether personal and sensitive information may have been exposed in the recent Haylands Primary School data breach.

Hackers are known to target public sector organisations and institutions who may not have cybersecurity that’s strong enough to withstand attacks. The 2017 WannaCry incident was a perfect example of hackers targeting older and outdated software. It ended up hitting the NHS incredibly hard.

In this incident, there are understandable concerns as to whether any personal information about parents and pupils has been exposed.

About the Haylands Primary School data breach

The Haylands Primary School data breach stems from a cyber attack incident identified at the end of March. The Isle of White school confirmed that their servers had been hacked and that information may possibly have been accessed.

The police are aware of the incident, and the matter has been duly reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Data that may have been exposed in the breach could possibly include:

  • Names;
  • Addresses;
  • Birth dates;
  • School records.

Speaking about the incident, the head teacher confirmed that:

“At present, we cannot rule out the possibility that personal information such as names, dates of birth, addresses and general school records might have been accessed, although we currently have no evidence that they were accessed in any way. Because of the possible data access, we have also self-reported this incident to the Information Commissioner’s Office.”

Why the Haylands Primary School data breach is worrying

The Haylands Primary School data breach is a worrying one. It perhaps doesn’t help that no one has been able to rule out the possibility that information has been exposed. For the potential victims, this isn’t usually much of a comfort, and many will assume the worst.

We’re also talking about children’s data as well here. There may be very personal and sensitive information that the school has to have on record. If that information is exposed, the distress that could be caused is potentially huge.

We know from the likes of the Fortnite “cracking” incidents that it’s youngsters themselves who are more than capable of committing attacks. The huge TalkTalk breach we’re fighting for justice in involved teenagers hacking into their systems. We can’t rule out whether this incident was committed by someone at the school who has a malicious agenda. These kinds of cyber attacks could become more and more common when we have ease of access to knowledge about how to commit hacks, and security that isn’t good enough.

The head teacher went on to comment on the oddity that a school may be targeted:

“Whilst we do not believe that this event will have any impact on our parents or pupils and the disruption to our systems was minimised, due to the virus protection that we had in place, I do feel a real sense of sadness that anyone would choose to attack a primary school in this way.”

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