Dorset school targeted in suspected ransomware attack

Hackers have targeted a Dorset school with ransomware.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Students at a Dorset secondary school have had their GCSE coursework held hostage by hackers.

It is believed the Sir John Colfox Academy in Bridport was targeted by a ransomware attack, which locks victims out of their personal files unless they pay hackers to unlock them.

The last major ransomware attack was the WannaCry attack which cost the NHS £73m in 2017.



Speaking to talkRADIO’s Mike Graham, cyber security expert Scott McGready said: “Ransomware is quite popular for criminals to financially benefit. It’s never ideal when this stuff hits so it can be very tempting to pay.

“A lot of people do not realise that if they wait anything from a couple of weeks to a year these encryption keys become available online and they can get their data back.

“That does not help these GCSE students, of course.”

Mr McGready said the attack could have been as a consequence of “bad luck” or, similar to what happened with the NHS, “funding was pooled and the right security principles were not in place.”

A Dorset Police spokesperson said a full investigation was underway into the suspected attack, with Dorset Police Cyber Crime Unit supporting and providing advice.

The spokesperson added that no money had been exchanged.