Department of Education refuses to step in to stop paedophiles and criminals hacking school websites

The Government has refused to take any measures to prevent the hacking of school websites by paedophiles and criminal gangs.

Videos on websites YouTube and Wikihow give expert guides on how to get into websites and steal pictures of children in school uniforms and other personal information.

MP John Mann has urged the Department of Education to intervene. But they have refused.

Minister of State for Schools Nick Gibb said: “The Government does not censor or interfere with legal content online.

“If online content is deemed illegal, it is a matter for law enforcement to investigate.”

But Mann told the Mirror: “This is simply not good enough.”

He explained: “There is a huge danger for the welfare of our children.

“If hackers can succeed in hacking into banks it’s easy for them to get into school websites.

Labour John Mann MP said it is 'simply not good enough'
Political influence: Labour MP John Mann says he’s been approached – and cancelled – twice by the programme makers
(Photo: Getty)

“It’s an obvious opportunity for paedophiles and we need to be aware of this. It’s imperative the government gives clear guidelines on cyber security for schools.

“There is a naivety in this country about cyber security.”

Criminal gangs are targeting schools up and down the country because their cyber-security has been branded as “shocking”.

There are a staggering 20,000 primary and secondary schools with websites.

Computer expert Alex Russell, technical director of Ulric said: “Many schools tell us they are getting no or little guidance from the government on the issue of cyber security.

“It’s a big scary world out there and many schools do not have the appropriate protection.

“Criminal organisations are targeting schools.

School computers are at risk
(Photo: Getty)

“There should be a government led initiative on this – our schools should be completely safe online.”

Gibb said: “The Department provides guidance to schools on how to protect data including the key principles, obligations and duties in relation to the Data Protection Act.

“Schools are not required to notify the Department if their website or servers are hacked, but in the event of a suspected serious breach or loss of personal or private information, schools should report the incident to the Information Commissioner’s Office.”

Labour MP Mann had asked if Ministers would “make representations to Wikihow and YouTube on the content hosted on their sites on how to hack into school websites and servers.”

Gibb claimed: “Cyber security is a top priority for the Government. We are investing £1.9 billion in the national cyber security strategy and have opened the National Cyber Security Centre .

“All organisations should have good basic cyber security measures in place, such as the Government’s Cyber Essentials scheme, which protects against common vulnerabilities, which are widely reported online, and will not be specific to schools.”

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