More than 700 school data breaches in a year

Schools in the UK reported 703 data breaches to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in 2016-17, compared with 571 in 2014-15.Allan Hickie, partner at UHY Hacker Young, warned that cyber-attacks can cause schools “extensive reputational damage, especially if the personal data of children and parents is compromised”.

“Parents must be reassured that the information held on their children, and their own financial data, is kept safe.

“Many private and independent schools are attractive to fraudsters, as school fees that they are attempting to redirect are often of high value. It is vital that schools have strong data security in place.”
His organisation warned that schools are now at a serious risk of large fines from the ICO if they fail to report data breaches, following the introduction of GDPR in May 2018.

The Department for Education said that all organisations, including schools and colleges, should have good basic cyber-security measures in place.
It pointed to the government’s Cyber Essentials scheme, which aims to protect against common vulnerabilities which are widely reported online.