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Sector In Focus: Education

The education sector is being increasingly targeted with ransomware attacks, as evidenced by the recent attack on the University of Sunderland. Although the university has not officially announced that the problems were caused by ransomware, the extensive disruption has all the hallmarks of this type of attack. They join a growing list of schools, colleges, and universities that have suffered ransomware attacks that have caused major disruption and significant costs to each institution. Earlier this year the Department for Education (DfE) wrote to schools to warn them it is “vital that you urgently review your existing defences and take the necessary steps to protect your networks from cyber attacks”.

The attack is usually either delivered via a link or attachment sent to a staff member, which when opened automatically downloads and runs the malicious software. The network can also be infected by having out-of-date systems accessible from the internet for hackers to exploit. Ransomware is capable of completely disabling a computer network, blocking pupils and students from accessing any remote learning and teachers from accessing any of their resources. Even cloud services such as Google can be affected as many of these synchronise with data stored locally. This means that when data is encrypted on a local computer, so is the data stored in the cloud service. Depending on your ability to restore the damaged data, the disruption can last weeks or even be irreparable. In this case, institutions often resort to paying a significant ransom fee to cybercriminals.

At Falanx Cyber we have watched educational institutions become the victims of ransomware attacks, knowing that they must be using anti-virus software and that it didn’t stop the attack. We have therefore made sure that we offer services that actually protect against ransomware attacks targeting the education sector. Our solution is our Managed Endpoint Detection and Response service (M-EDR), which you can think of as a more advanced version of anti-virus that works alongside your existing anti-virus solution and protects you against these more sophisticated threats. The Managed part is key – we have a 24/7 Security Operations Centre that is collecting information from your laptops and other devices in real-time, allowing our analysts to block anything that may cause damage to data on the device, such as ransomware. We combine bleeding-edge technology with our highly skilled analysts to provide that enhanced level of protection. Our M-EDR is much more affordable than you’d think too, as we’ve priced it so that it’s suitable for schools, colleges, and universities.

Alongside our M-EDR offering, we have our flagship Triarii XDR service that extends your protection across your entire network and cloud. Combine M-EDR or XDR with robust offsite backups of your data and you’ll have excellent protection against ransomware attacks.

Contact us now for more information.

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