60% of independent schools faced cyberattacks in five years

Despite the high figure, only 1% of schools polled reported feeling ‘highly vulnerable’ to cybercriminals

61% of UK independent schools have faced a cyberattack in the last five years, according to a new report.

The report compiled by Endsleigh Insurance Service found that malware, phishing scams and hackers topped the list of schools’ cybersecurity concerns.

Despite two-thirds of schools reporting attacks, only two in five monitor their cybersecurity policy at least once a month. A similar proportion consider their institutions a target for hackers and only 1% reported feeling ‘highly vulnerable’ to a breach.

Schools have come a long way in recent years in acknowledging the cyber-risks posed by the modern working world and we are keen to support that progress

John Murphie, chief operating officer at the Independent Schools’ Bursars Association, said: “The ongoing difficulty for schools is finding an effective way to anticipate and counter each cyber threat, without knowing which is coming first, or which is the more sophisticated.

“It is the ever-evolving nature of cyber risks which makes them so difficult to counter. However, strict adherence to basic cyber safety measures and a high degree of ‘cyber hygiene’ with good staff training will be key.”

Kristine Scott, partner and head of education at Harrison Clark Rickerbys and a contributor to the report, said: “Having provided legal counsel to independent schools for a number of years, I would say that cyber security is now in their top three concerns.

“Schools have come a long way in recent years in acknowledging the cyber-risks posed by the modern working world and we are keen to support that progress.”