Three ways to protect yourself from a cyber-attack


Cybercriminals use a variety of ways to enter into school networks and systems. Here are three easy ways you can help protect yourself and the school.

Only open emails when you have time to respond

Cybercriminals use various tactics to trick people into opening and responding to fake emails called phishing emails. As these phishing emails improve in sophistication, it is more important than ever to take time to read and check the authenticity of every email. Clicking links or entering personal details into fake websites can leave you and the school vulnerable to financial loss and even a full cyber-attack.

Ask yourself


1.  Was I expecting this email?
2.  Is it from an individual or organisation that has my school email address?
3.  If it is from an organisation that knows my name, have they used this in the email or does it start with something anonymous such as Dear Customer?
4.  Are they asking for information they should already have, such as login details or passwords?
5.  Is there a sense of urgency in the email?

If you are unsure how trustworthy an email is, contact the organisation or individual directly and via details from their website or with details you already have. Always speak to your IT team if you are unsure about emails.


Switch off computers to keep software and apps up to date

One reason suppliers update their software is to fix vulnerabilities or holes via which cyber criminals can enter the software. If you don’t normally switch off your computer or laptop each day, these updates might not be identified by the software and it will quickly become out of date.

Shutting down machines enables the software to check for updates when they are switched back on. Once an update is identified, it’s important to follow the instructions to update it as soon as possible. If that’s not convenient when you switch on the device, change the settings to update it as soon as it is convenient.

Remove old software and applications

Once the supplier no longer updates a piece of software or mobile app, it opens up vulnerabilities to your computer, laptop or mobile phone and should be removed.

Mobile phone apps are another way for cybercriminals to cause havoc, and they will target legacy apps that are no longer updated. Regularly check for apps you’re no longer using or haven’t been updated for a while and delete them from your phone.