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Peterborough colleges and academies subjected to ransomware attack

Schools, academies and colleges across Peterborough were victims of a cyber attack last week - but it is believed no-one's personal data was accessed.

Nene Park Academy and West Town Primary Academy were among those targeted by the ransomware attack, as well as The Inspire Education Group - which runs Peterborough College and University Centre Peterborough.

Inspire's network was attacked early last week, possibly as part of a series of strikes, and while the team worked quickly to minimise the damage it is likely to impact the college's internally hosted systems in the next two weeks. 

Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts a victim's files, before the attacker demands a ransom from the victim to restore access.

Nene Park Academy and West Town Primary Academy are part of Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust, and a spokesperson said: “Our IT team identified ransomware within our network on Friday, March 12, and we acted quickly to keep any disruption to a minimum for our students and staff.

“All our schools have been open as normal this week.  Thanks to the hard work of our team, our core IT services were restored quickly and the majority of other services have been restored or will be ready for the start of next week.  We have been very grateful for the support and patience of staff, parents and students whilst this work was undertaken.

“This matter was immediately reported to the Government’s National Cyber Security Centre as is routine in this situation. We do not believe that any sensitive or personal information has been accessed. Parents and students should check their school’s website for further details.”

A spokesperson for the National Cyber Security Centre said: "We are working with the Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust and law enforcement partners to fully understand the impact of this incident.

"The trust has said that core services will be fully restored over the coming days and that it does not believe personal information has been accessed. The NCSC works closely with the education sector and we have published practical guidance on how to defend against ransomware attacks.