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Ransomware Attack

Last Tuesday 23rd March, the government’s National Cyber Security Centre issued an alert about a spike in so-called ransomware attacks affecting schools. Since that alert, the Harris Federation has also suffered a ransomware attack and, though measures were in place to protect our systems, our servers have been impacted.

A ransomware attack means that cyber-criminals have accessed our IT systems and encrypted, or hidden, their contents. We are at least the fourth multi academy trust to have been targeted in March. The attack came to light on Saturday 27th March, and we have been working through the weekend to begin resolving it.

This is a highly sophisticated attack that will have significant impact on our academies but it will take time to uncover the exact details of what has or has not happened, and to resolve. In addition to using the services of a specialised firm of cyber technology consultants, we are working closely with the National Crime Agency and the National Cyber Security Centre.

Harris academies are open today and we will endeavour to keep them open until the end of term as specified in the table below.

As a precaution we have temporarily disabled our email system. Our telephone systems, which run on the internet, have also been disabled but each academy switchboard has been diverted to a mobile telephone. Switchboard services are therefore very limited and we would ask that you temporarily avoid telephoning us or any Harris academy other than to report absence or in emergencies.

Where pupils have Harris Federation devices, these have been disabled as a precaution and cannot currently be used.   

We know that some families will have important individual concerns around data and that in these cases you will want to know more about the nature of the attack. Because we do not want to risk providing incorrect information, we will communicate further once we have clarity and liaise as appropriate with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

End of Term Dates

All of our schools will finish the current term on Wednesday 31st March except for the following:

Tuesday 30th March
Harris Primary Academy Crystal Palace

Thursday 1st April
Harris Academy Chobham
Harris Academy Rainham
Harris Academy Wimbledon
Harris Aspire
Harris Primary Academy Coleraine Park
Harris Primary Academy Croydon
Harris Primary Academy Haling Park
Harris Primary Academy Philip Lane
Harris Professional Skills Sixth Form
Harris Westminster Sixth Form

Updates about this incident will be published on:

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