Hackers target Horsham school in 'malicious cyber attack'

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Hackers have carried out a ‘malicious attack’ on a Horsham school’s computer systems.

The cyber attack caused major disruption at Tanbridge House School this week. But headteacher Mark Sheridan says ‘no compromise of sensitive information’ has been found.

The attack is the third on schools in West Sussex over the past week. Two schools in Chichester have been subjected to major ransomeware attacks.

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One of them – Bishop Luffa – confirmed that hackers were holding a huge amount of sensitive data to ransom but said the school was not in a position to pay.

Hackers have staged a 'malicious cyber attack' on Tanbridge House School in HorshamHackers have staged a 'malicious cyber attack' on Tanbridge House School in Horsham
Hackers have staged a 'malicious cyber attack' on Tanbridge House School in Horsham

Tanbridge House School sent out a letter to parents this week saying that hacking of its systems had had ‘a big impact on the normal running of the school this week’ but that computers were being reconfigured.

In the letter Mark Sheridan said: “We now understand there to have been a malicious access of our school computer systems from an outside party.

“This incident continues to be fully investigated by our external IT security team. They have told us that while the hackers managed to gain access and lock us out of all of our systems, no evidence has been found of any breach of data or compromise of sensitive information.

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“IT security staff were quickly on site to shut down our computer systems and we reported the incident to the Information Commissioner’s Office, who have given us the advice we are now following.

“While this has had a big impact on the normal running of our school this week, our IT team have been busy building an enhanced, secure system for students and staff to use. Over 300 computers have been reconfigured already. This process will be ongoing and continuing over the weekend.

“We will be issuing new login details to all students and staff from Monday March 20, and we hope to be fully back up and running early next week.

“Please be assured that the school will continue to implement the strongest cyber security measures possible to prevent malicious attacks such as these in the future.”

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He paid tribute to “everyone in the school community for rallying together at this time and would like to thank those parents who have also volunteered their services and support.”

Sussex Police and West Sussex County Council have been approached for comment.