A HEREFORDSHIRE school which previously suffered a cyber attack has moved to reassure parents after personal information of students at another county school was leaked online.
Queen Elizabeth High School in Bromyard outlined to parents all the measures it has in place to try and avoid a cyber attack – but admitted no network is safe.
Martin Farmer, executive headteacher at Queen Elizabeth High School and St Peter’s and Bredenbury primaries, all part of the Three Counties Academy Trust, said he could empathise with the Bishop of Hereford’s Bluecoat School which suffered the data breach.
Hackers stole students’ personal information, including names, ages and addresses, and have since published this on the dark web – a part of the internet where criminals can communicate anonymously.
Mr Farmer said: “Having experienced an attack ourselves a few years back where we were fortunate not to see a data breach, we can empathise with the school in question, but we know our pupils, staff and parents will benefit from reassurance as to our protections.
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“While no network is infallible, we at Three Counties Academy Trust (TCAT) are confident that every reasonable step has been taken to protect the pupils and data across TCAT including all at Queen Elizabeth High School, Bredenbury Primary School and St. Peter’s Primary School.
“The Trust Board has invested significantly in developing extra robust measures to counteract such attacks, working closely with our partners at Border Office Supplies (BOSS).”
He outlined the technical measures, such as two-factor authentication, robust passwords and antivirus software, in place to try and avoid the attacks.
“All of the above measures are in line with (and go beyond in some cases) the requirements of the Department of Education to secure data,” he said.
“Our staff have all undertaken specific Cyber Security training as recently as September as required by our risk protection arrangement insurance.
“In addition to these measures all TCAT data, user profiles, file infrastructure and architecture is backed up both locally and offsite. The backups are encrypted and stored in separate locations.
“I hope this gives you all as much reassurance as can reasonably be expected that at TCAT we take data security very seriously and have good layers of protection in place.”
The Bishop of Hereford’s Bluecoat School has apologised for the data breach, but in a letter to parents admitted it did not know how much data had been copied or shared.
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