Data Security

ITsecurity

This section covers information and advice on 'Data Security'. If you have a specific query please email these to ictadvice@pdst.ie.

 

Data Security is critical for all schools. As you may be aware there have been some recent major ransomware attacks which have caused a lot of problems for computer users. When a computer becomes infected with ransomware it encrypts (or locks) the files so that they can't be accessed.  It will also try to encrypt any linked drives or folders that the infected computer has access to. The ransomware virus will then demand a ransom from the user to have the files unlocked. We recommend NOT paying any demanded ransom, as this encourages more ransomware, and there is no guarantee that the files will be unlocked. A computer can become infected if the user opens a corrupted email or if they visit a website or link that has been compromised.  Ransomware can cause a huge amount of disruption.

Here are some key preventative steps to take to reduce the risk of being affected (this applies to laptops and home PC’s too):

  • Avoiding dubious websites and downloads. Refrain from opening attachments that look suspicious. Think twice before clicking.
  • Beware of any suspicious looking emails.  You should never open any email with an attachment if it is from an unknown source and even if it is from a known source you should still be cautious, especially if it is unexpected or unsolicited.  You should also avoid clicking on any embedded HTML links in an email and should be aware of the dangers posed by certain websites.
  • Some devices are more at risk to viruses than others. Chromebooks and Apple devices such as iPads and Macbooks are considered at low risk of being infected by viruses, and as such don't require Anti-Virus software to be installed on them. Also Microsoft's latest 'Windows 10' Operating System (OS) has integrated Anti-virus software as part of the operating system, (unlike older OS versions such as Windows 7), there is a lower risk of a device being infected by a virus. 
  • Installing software updates as they are made available from software providers
  • Backing up important files, You have a good backup in place that is safe and secure
  • In the event a suspicious process is spotted on your computer, instantly turn off the Internet connection.
  • Ensure your Wifi is secure
  • Switch off unused wireless connections, such as Bluetooth or infrared ports.

Advice on preventing ransomware from infecting your computers:

Here is a useful link to assist schools:
https://www.europol.europa.eu/activities-services/public-awareness-and-prevention-guides/tips-advice-to-prevent-ransomware-infecting-your-electronic-devices