NSW Education pulls systems offline following cyber attack

By Shannon Jenkins

Thursday July 8, 2021

NSW education minister Sarah Mitchell
NSW education minister Sarah Mitchell. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

The New South Wales Department of Education has shut down a number of its systems following a cyber attack.

In a statement on Thursday the department revealed that some of its internal systems have been unavailable since late Wednesday, after they were deactivated ‘as a precaution’.

The department has been working with Cyber Security NSW to ensure the systems are restored in time for the start of the third school term on Monday, according to education secretary Georgina Harrisson.

“The timing of this creates considerable challenges for staff as we prepare for the start of term three. Thankfully, our teams have been able to isolate the issues and we are working to reactivate services as soon as possible,” she said.

“I am confident we will have the issue resolved soon and want to reassure teachers and parents that there will be no impact on students learning from home next week.

“Whilst we are confident all systems will be back online before day one, term three, we are making information to support home learning available on our public website so that preparations for the start of term can continue.”

The matter has been referred to NSW Police and federal agencies, the department said.


READ MORE: NSW to establish cyber hub under new strategy


Education minister Sarah Mitchell said that while ‘many teachers will be angry about the situation’, the department was working to reactivate systems as quickly as possible.

Last year NSW auditor-general Margaret Crawford urged NSW government agencies to ‘prioritise improvements to their cyber security resilience as a matter of urgency’. 

Under the state’s new cyber security strategy, released in May, government agencies have been instructed to lead by example in best practice and cyber resilience by ‘adhering to and exceeding the mandatory cyber security requirements’.


READ MORE: NSW public sector’s cyber security resilience needs ‘urgent attention’, audit office finds


 

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