Help! My primary school has been hit by ransomware!

This week Rachel Tomlinson, Headteacher at Barrowford Primary School, joined me for a pretty terrifying chat on our School in the Fast Lane podcast.  The reason for making this episode is a very important one and that is to help at least one school, maybe yours, ensure that it takes the steps needed to avoid the total disruption and stress of being hit by ransomware.
Don’t be lulled into thinking it’ll not be you because you’ve got backups, the latest antivirus and so on.  As Rachel says, in the row of houses where she lives, three out of four were burgled while her home wasn’t. Why? Probably because their house has dogs and sometimes that’s all you need to dissuade intruders. It’s the same principle when protecting the school network, critical data and everyone using it.

Let’s go back in time a few weeks.
Imagine one day your laptop takes an age to sign in to the school server. No problem – tech support will sort it.  Then imagine connecting to the server and seeing absolutely nothing. SIMS data? No. Finance? No. Backups? What the….?

As more and more colleagues sign in and sync up to the server imagine all of their data suddenly being effectively lockup in such a way that nobody, even industry UK and international specialists or police, can unlock it.  You’re over a barrel.  The end of the financial year is upon you.  Then a message is found which is a ransom demand to be met in 7 days with the prospect of it doubling as the clock ticks down or much worse – losing all of your data forever. 

Rachel shares the experience that she and her colleagues all faced the day that ransomware hit her school servers and over 70% of all laptops. Causing more stress than any school should ever have to endure, grab a drink, sit back and listen to this nightmare of a ride that your school may well be able to learn from.

Rachel’s upcoming book
Rachel is also writing a book that takes in every major school event, more or less, packing it into the time frame of one school day. When she started this, the school hadn’t been attacked with ransomware but maybe this too will find its way into the book!


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