Hackers threaten to release sensitive information from Chichester schools following ransomware attack

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Two Chichester schools are being targeted by a hacker group that has taken over the computer system and is threatening to release data.

Bishop Luffa School and Rumboldswhyke Primary School were targeted by a ransomware attack on Thursday (March 9) which has shut down phones lines and the schools’ website.

The hackers are also threatening to release sensitive data if the school does not comply and pay a ransom.

Sussex Police has been alerted.

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Bishop LuffaBishop Luffa
Bishop Luffa

The headteacher of Bishop Luffa and CEO of the school’s academy, Austen Hindman, has said in a statement today (Tuesday, March 14): “Bishop Luffa School has been the victim of a ransomware attack. The virus has shut our computer system down and the hackers are threatening to release files held on our servers. We use cloud-based systems to store personal data, safeguarding information and most

student work. As far as we are aware, cloud-based systems are unaffected by the attack.

“The files on our server will, however, contain some personal details about staff, students and parents. As a school we do not have the financial means to pay a ransom. Even if we did, it would be a poor lesson to our students if we gave in to bullying. It is hard to understand why someone would choose to steal from and vandalise a school and use information about children for financial gain.

“The Bishop Luffa community has been amazing in its support. We have been inundated with offers of help and with personal experiences of attacks like this that we can learn from. I would like to thank everyone who is praying for us at this time. Rumboldswhyke School is also affected by the attack, although more of their data is stored on cloud/based systems and so hopefully unaffected. We would like to thank West Sussex Police for the support that they are giving us at this time.”

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The schools system remains down and a message on the website reads: “The school systems are currently down. We are unable to access emails or phone lines. In an emergency or to report an absence please call 07706 352250. Absences can also be reported by email to [email protected] All other enquiries can be emailed to [email protected] The 'contact us' facility on the school website is also unavailable at present as this is linked to the school's Bishop Luffa email accounts. Our apologies for any inconvenience caused.”