Documents leaked as schools are hit by cyber attack

Highly confidential documents from 14 schools have been leaked online by hackers, according to a report on the BBC website.

A hacking group called Vice Society has obtained documents including children’s Special Educational Needs information, scans of child passports,  staff pay scales and contract details.

One of the schools targeted has been named as Pates Grammar School in Gloucestershire.

The Vice Society is said to be behind a high-profile string of attacks on schools across the UK and the USA in recent months.

The FBI in America has previously released an alert regarding  the group’s activities. In one hacking attack, Vice Society allegedly stole 500 gigabytes of data from the Los Angeles Unified School District.

When data is stolen, Vice Society makes demands for money before leaking the documents if payment is not made.

The documents stolen from Pates Grammar School were comprehensive. One folder, marked “passports”, contains passport scans for pupils and parents on school trips going back to 2011, whle another, marked “contract”, contains contractual offers made to staff alongside teaching documents on muscle contractions.

Another folder contains documents on the headmaster’s pay, and student bursary fund recipients.

Alongside information from Pates, the BBC found confidential documents purporting to be from 13 other schools in England.

Hackers are believed  to have leaked the information on the dark web, a section of the internet often used by criminals.

The BBC report that the ICO and Gloucestershire Police have confirmed they are investigating.

Pates Grammar School told the BBC that it was working closely with cyber-security specialists to conduct a thorough assessment and analysis of the leaked data, adding they had brought in experienced forensic investigators to secure systems and resolve the issue.