School trust reassures student data is safe after rumours of cyber attack

Computer crime

Craig Smith, chief operations officer of Bedfordshire Schools Trust, reassured the Comet that the attack was not a cyber attack on the school - Credit: Archant

The trust that runs ten schools in Bedfordshire has reassured students and parents that their work and data is safe, after rumours of a suspected cyber attack surfaced this week.

Students at Samuel Whitbread Academy in Shefford Road, Clifton, were told by teachers yesterday that there was to be no WiFi on the premises for the foreseeable future.

Samuel Whitbread Academy, Clifton

Samuel Whitbread Academy, Clifton - Credit: Google Street View

The threat of cyber attacks has elevated after a surge in the offence in recent weeks, with educational institutions falling victim - including the University of Hertfordshire which was hit by a cyber attack last week.

Craig Smith, chief operations officer of Bedfordshire Schools Trust, reassured the Comet that the attack was actually on the school's internet provider, and not on the school itself.

He said: “We can confirm that we have been experiencing internet connectivity issues this week which have affected three of the schools in our trust: Samuel Whitbread Academy, Etonbury Academy and Gothic Mede Academy.

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"The problems relate to the services provided to these schools by their internet service provider. This is not a direct attack on the schools’ servers or systems and we believe no student work or personal data has been compromised.

"We are working closely with our IT partners and are confident we will have the WiFi networks fully restored at the schools in the coming days. As per guidance, we have also informed the relevant authorities of the issue, including the National Cyber Security Centre and Department for Education.”

In response to the disruption, Bedfordshire Police have signposted those seeking further information about cyber crime - or those who believe they have fallen victim to cyber crime or had their online safety compromised - to the force's website.

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