TARGETED: Skinners’ Kent Academy in Tunbridge Wells was forced to close on Monday after a cyber attack. (Pic by Google Streetview)
Hackers have stolen data from two schools in Tunbridge Wells forcing them to close on Monday.
The Skinners’ Kent Academy and Skinners’ Kent Primary School were targeted in the cyber attack.
Academy parents have been told they need to notify their banks that an “outside party” has their bank details.
The hackers told the school what information they had stolen – although the school said it “cannot be sure exactly what the hackers have access to”.
They also locked the academy out of its databases which hold all personal records for pupils, students and staff, some of which is important to safeguard students while on campus.
Skinners’ Kent Primary School was able to open on Tuesday while Skinners’ Kent Academy is expected to open on Thursday. (June 9)
In a message to parents, the academy said: “It would be very wise to let your bank know that your bank details may have been taken. The details of bank accounts may have been accessed through details taken for the iPad scheme for example.”
However, it said the card system used by pupils to pay for school lunches called Squid, did not seem to have been affected.
Ed Wesson, who is senior executive lead over both schools, and who is also headmaster at The Skinners’ School which does not appear to be affected, told the Courier: “Both schools have been working incredibly hard since the middle of last week to get everything in order for reopening.
“Remarkably, Skinners’ Kent Primary School reopened on time on Tuesday, following a planned inset day on Monday, whilst at Skinners’ Kent Academy, the process of wiping clean all staff laptops and all desktop computers has necessitated a delay to Thursday of this week.
“The scale of this attack is significant and it is tribute to the professionalism of staff at both schools that they are ready to go.
“We cannot be certain but it looks like this is a random attack on the Trust, rather than one that affects other Skinners’ Company schools. I do note however that there have been attacks on other multi academy trusts nationally over half term,” he said.
Gemma Wyatt, the head at Skinners’ Kent Primary School, told the Courier due to being a smaller, one-form entry school, and Monday’s inset day, they were able to open on Tuesday and “therefore, no learning time was lost for pupils”.
The academy had told parents it could not reopen until it had emergency contact details, medical records, timetables and registers in place. It asked parents to resubmit them, even on paper, if they were concerned about cyber safety.
All the computers have to be rebuilt so the school can access the resources needed to teach.
The academy said in a message to parents on Monday: “Please be assured we would not have taken this decision if there had been any other alternative.”
It said: “Please be assured that we are working as hard and as quickly as possible to be able to re open and limit the disruption to learning.”
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