Keeping Safe Against Ransomware Attacks

In light of the ransomware incident that has impacted severely on organisations internationally, including the NHS, Atomwide offer the following advice and guidance to our customers to help you keep your networks secure. If you are not currently an Atomwide customer you may also find this information useful in line with your own strategies to protect against such cyber-attacks.

The malware responsible for the attack is a ransomware variant known as ‘WannaCry’. The malware propagates over TCP port 445 (Server Message Block/SMB), compromising hosts and encrypting files following which a ransom payment is demanded in the form of Bitcoins. The ransomware is designed to attack a vulnerability in the Windows Operating system that was patched by Microsoft in March 2017.

How is Atomwide mitigating the risk of infection across its customer base?

Atomwide maintains a highly secure network, on behalf of its customers, where there are multiple layers of firewalling implemented. In addition, there are services deployed that actively monitor traffic on networks looking for weaknesses, or misconfigured services from within a subscribing establishment, that could be used to compromise the integrity of your network.

All Atomwide customers, whether contracting directly or via LGfL/TRUSTnet, should act promptly and never ignore a support case alerting you of a vulnerability; the Atomwide Service Desk is available for advice and guidance should there be any doubt with the enabling of services external to your network.

Server Message Block/SMB

The Atomwide Service Desk has conducted a review of all network rules. A Support Announcement was sent to all establishments where we identified open SMB shares between other connected establishments. If you received Support Announcement 282152, the advice is to conduct a review of your firewall rules to ensure that all configured access is still required. Reducing the number of SMB connections between your organisation and other connected organisations will significantly reduce the risk of compromise.

Patching Policy

It is vital to ensure that your establishment has a patching policy in place that prioritises the install of critical patches released by vendors. As a priority, ensure all Windows devices have patch MS17-010 installed (released March 2017). For our school customers connected via LGfL/TRUSTnet this patch is available on the LGfL WSUS servers for Windows operating systems, including XP. LGfL provides a WSUS service that can be used to patch Windows Operating Systems in your school, for more information on how to use the service please contact the Atomwide Service Desk.

Backups

As the role of technology in everyday use both personally and professionally increases, and with ransomware attacks on the rise, the secure storage of data becomes even more critical. The secure, automated and regular backup of all critical data to an offsite storage location is highly recommended and should be part of any establishment’s disaster recovery plan. When deploying a remote backup solution, backup files should not be accessible by machines which are at risk of being infected by ransomware. Atomwide currently manages over 1.3 Petabyte’s of remotely backed-up data across over 800 individual establishments. For more information on our remote backup services please visit our web pages – http://atomwide.com/gridstore/default.htm

Intercept X

All of our LGfL/TRUSTnet customers have Sophos Intercept X available to them as part of their LGfL/TRUSTnet subscription. Intercept X is specifically designed to help prevent the malicious encryption of data by ransomware. If you are an LGfL/TRUSTnet school and have not yet deployed Intercept X, please raise a support case via the Service Desk so that steps can be taken to have your computers and files protected.

WebScreen Internet Filtering

A ‘kill switch’ was discovered in the WannaCry variant that prevents the malware from executing. It is thought the kill switch was originally designed to prevent the malware from being analysed within a closed sandbox environment. Access to the kill switch URL has been permitted for all of our WebScreen customers, under no circumstances should the URL be blocked in your WebScreen policies. Due to the nature in which WebScreen continually gathers web intelligence, ‘crowd sourced’ in real time from our 3,000+ real world customers, education-focused custom categorisation is added to the entire delivery platform in situations like this without having to wait on AI systems for updates and interim decisions.

More detail on the kill switch can be read on the National Cyber Security Centre website – https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/blog-post/finding-kill-switch-stop-spread-ransomware-0

More information on the WebScreen internet filtering service can be found at – http://atomwide.com/webscreen/default.htm

Awareness and Reporting

A program of education and awareness training for all staff within your establishment should be implemented to ensure users do not open attachments or follow links in suspicious emails. If your school makes use of the LGfL/TRUSTnet private cloud hosted email platform, StaffMail, and should there be any doubt over the validity of an email, it is highly recommended that the email is reported through StaffMail’s unique ‘Report as Spam’ feature. A positive report of an email containing malware from a single user in any school has a direct benefit to all schools within the LGfL/TRUSTnet community as that email is firstly, as a matter of urgency, removed from StaffMail and in addition, measures are put in place within MailProtect to prevent the same email variant from being received by others.

All establishments who make use of MailProtect but maintain their own internal mail system benefit too from the measures implemented in MailProtect. More information on MailProtect can be found at – http://atomwide.com/mailprotect/default.htm

Finally, and for interest, the NY Times has produced an animated graph of the infection spreading which is based on data from a researcher that was tracking the outbreak. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/05/12/world/europe/wannacry-ransomware-map.html?_r=0.

Please remember, if in any doubt, the Atomwide team will be more than happy to help.

01689 814700 | info@atomwide.comsupport.atomwide.com

Proven School Web Filtering

Safer Internet Day – Tuesday 7th February 2017

The approach of Safer Internet Day 2017 offers a timely opportunity for us to extol the virtues of WebScreenTM2.0, our flagship internet filtering service deployed in thousands of schools across the UK. WebScreenTM2.0 was designed, developed, created and thereafter supported here at Atomwide specifically to address and fulfil the internet filtering requirements of UK schools. A mandate it fulfils to this day.

Today, WebScreenTM2.0 helps ensure that a growing number of over 2 million pupils nationwide are able to use the internet safely and appropriately as part of their learning.

As you would expect, WebScreenTM2.0 fulfils the requirements of last year’s Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) 2016 revised statutory guidance, and the related UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC) guidance on the topics of filtering in schools.

You like us, have probably heard many people ‘quoting’ a requirement and saying what must be done, or that certain actions are now ‘mandatory when sometimes this is not the case. These views could politely be referred to as sales misinterpretation, but often can result in schools spending much-needed, scarce cash.

Currently, our recommendation to schools is to look at the UK Safer Internet Centre’s website, where there is guidance on Prevent, and on the latest update to Keeping Children Safe in Education, plus several helpful documents for schools to use to interpret the recent guidance, particularly around filtering and monitoring, and how to judge what is appropriate for their requirements.

For more information concerning WebScreenTM2.0 please get in touch using the contact details below or click here.

Wishing everyone a very happy Safer Internet Day next week.

Kind regards,

The Team at Atomwide

BETT Awards 2017 – Service and Support

Considered by many as the most esteemed accolade in the industry, winners of BETT Awards are seen to have excelled in ICT provision and support for nurseries, schools, colleges and special schools alike with a clear focus on what works in the classroom.

After almost 30 years supporting schools, Atomwide are going to enter to win one, in the category of best Service and Support, and have made a video to support our entry which you can watch here – https://youtu.be/g-zPKZUiEFk

We hope you like it, and would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our schools for their ongoing support which has made entering for this award possible.

Many thanks

The Team at Atomwide

myDrive editor – New to myUSO!

Edit your documents directly in myUSO, using Microsoft Office Online

Those who are using myDrive to securely store and share their files are now able to create and edit Microsoft Office documents easily and conveniently online.

  • Save time by removing the need to download documents, amend them and re-upload
  • Amend documents and save them in real time keeping your work up-to-date
  • Create MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents straight from myUSO
  • Collaborate on shared documents in real time
  • Always work off the latest version of a shared document
  • All files are resiliently backed-up preventing the loss of work
  • Make your changes safely, from within the securely authenticated myUSO platform

What’s more, as myUSO is an included service for LGfL and TRUSTnet connected schools, the new myDrive editor feature comes at no extra charge.

If you haven’t been doing so already, the best way to enjoy the benefits of myUSO is to log in and get started – my.uso.im

Should you have any queries please see the User Guide by clicking on the ‘?’ in the top bar or call the Atomwide Help Desk on 020 82 55 55 55.

Remember to give us your feedback by clicking on the ‘provide feedback’ button on the top bar.

Many thanks,

The Team at Atomwide

Is your data safe while you’re away?

Protection against the unexpected

As the end of term is almost upon us we thought we’d remind you of GridStore, the secure, off-site backup service offered at a special price by London Grid for Learning (LGfL) to their connected schools. Easy to set-up, GridStore ensures your data is properly backed up, meaning it’s kept safe from any unforeseen events that may occur while everyone is off enjoying a well-deserved Summer break!

With the backing up of school data being increasingly important, GridStore offers an automated, reliable, cloud-based backup solution at a preferential rate specifically for LGfL and TRUSTnet connected schools. Easily set up, GridStore automates much of the back up process allowing for regular, secure backing up of important school data without hassle or the need for on-site technical expertise. It also affords the freedom to control where critical admin and finance data, for example, is stored as well as the ability to retrieve it when needed.

Furthermore, GridStore ticks the box of the EFA’s Schools Financial Value Standard Guidelines for your Disaster Recovery Plan as it offers ‘daily backing up off-site of the schools important IT systems‘.

•    Simple and easy to use
•    Fully automated – set and forget
•    No hardware to pay for or go wrong
•    Free telephone support
•    24 hour case logging system
•    All data is encrypted before it leaves the school site
•    Rapid data recovery online
•    2 copies of data are stored off-site in highly secure, UK data centres

Schools across multiple sites also benefit as it boosts operational efficiency by reducing the number of backup deployments (such as tape drives or removable media) to maintain, and also by providing central visibility of backup success and failure. GridStore will back up from all locations to two centralised data centres reducing time, risk and cost.

To find out more about GridStore please visit gridstore.lgfl.net or get in touch at gridstore@lgfl.org.uk

Enjoy the break!

The Atomwide Team

01689 814700

www.atomwide.com

A School-Focused CCTV Solution

Has your school grown in size and now your cameras don’t cover as much as they need to? Is it difficult to monitor and retrieve footage? Are the quotes you are receiving unrealistic for a school’s budget?

Atomwide have updated their CCTV offer, meaning you can help protect your school with a future-proofed, state-of-the-art CCTV system that won’t break the bank.

The system comes with a Network Video Recorder that supports up to 32 cameras, if this isn’t enough, more can be arranged. What’s more, LGfL VoIP or WiFi service subscribers may be able to use their existing switching allowing for a further cost saving.

There are a wide range of cameras from which to choose. Infra-red for night-time viewing is available, along with full pan, tilt and zoom options.

Once you have all your equipment your new CCTV system can be installed by Atomwide and is thereafter supported by our UK-based help desk. With remote status monitoring however, often we will have been able to fix the problem before you are aware of it.

All of this can be delivered incredibly cost effectively…

“We have had Atomwide’s CCTV since 2013 and cannot fault it. The first attraction was the cost which was considerably lower than alternatives. Functions such as saving a bit of footage or creating a photo are simple, and adding cameras to the system has been easily undertaken. Being able to see the pictures on a mobile phone can be very useful, and the very few technical problems we have encountered have all been fixed remotely and quickly. We are very happy to recommend Atomwide.” School Business Manager, Westminster. 

To join the community of schools benefiting from the Atomwide CCTV service please get in touch using our contact details below. Alternatively, for more information please see our website or download our brochure.

Many thanks

The Team at Atomwide

01689 814700 | info@atomwide.comsecurity.atomwide.com

New Training Courses for LGfL and TRUSTnet Schools

New training courses are now available for nominated contacts from both LGfL and TRUSTnet connected schools to attend. The courses cover a wide range of the services included in the LGfL bundle and are available for both technical and non-technical staff alike.

The training is hosted at Atomwide’s offices in Orpington, is free to attend, and also includes a complimentary lunch!

Please see below a list of the available dates for the Spring.

28th June 2016 – Training for Primary School Nominated Contacts (non-technical staff)

30th June 2016 – Training for Primary School Nominated Contacts (for technical staff)

5th July 2016 – Training for Secondary School Nominated Contacts

7th July 2016 – Web filtering using WebScreen 2.0 for Nominated Contacts

For further information on any of the courses or to reserve a place please visit the support site, relevant links below.

LGfL Schools

https://support.lgfl.org.uk/secure/training/bookcourse.aspx

TRUSTnet Schools

https://support.trustnet.pro/secure/training/bookcourse.aspx

Many thanks,

The Training Team at Atomwide

Changes to the support line greeting

When calling the LGfL Service Desk, supported by Atomwide, on 0208 255 55 55 (option 3) you will now be presented with a selection of options which will direct you to a specialist member of the Support Team.

This has been designed to reduce waiting time and provide more effective support more readily over the wide range of products and services that are now covered.

It will also allow for non-Nominated Contacts to call the Service Desk in order to seek advice on a variety of subjects without the need for a Nominated Contact’s involvement. Some cases, however, may still need to be referred to the school’s Nominated Contact where administrative changes are being requested.

The three options you will be presented with are:

Option 1 – For queries on any services supported by Atomwide that are part of your LGfL or TRUSTnet connection. Please be aware only Nominated Contacts will be able to use this option.

Option 2 – For The Atomwide SIMS Support Service. Please note this is not an LGfL or TRUSTnet included service.

Further information can be found here: http://atomwide.com/Summary_page/Services/sims_support.html

Option 3 – Covering value-added services that may have been purchased by your school from LGfL / Atomwide. This option can be used by both Nominated Contacts and Non-Nominated Contacts.

The services covered by option 3 are:

AutoText – http://text.atomwide.com/key_features.html

Digital Signage – https://signage.atomwide.com/home/why_digital_signage.html

Local On-site Technician Support – https://tech.atomwide.com/about_us.html

Managed WiFi – http://atomwide.com/Summary_page/Services/wireless.html

ParentComms | Pay+ – http://cashless.atomwide.com/key_benefits.html

School Security | CCTV – http://security.atomwide.com/help_secure_your_school.html

VoIP Telephony – https://voip.lgfl.org.uk/key_features.html

We hope you find the changes useful and welcome your feedback!

To be kept up-to-date and informed of any future announcements of this nature, we recommend that you download the ParentComms:Mobile app.

http://www.atomwide.com/mobile/staff_info.html

 

Many Thanks,

The Atomwide Support Team

The New mySchool Issue Tracker

We are thrilled to announce the release of the mySchool Issue Tracker website. Schools that have purchased optional value-added services, separate to their LGfL/TRUSTnet subscription can now visit the Issue Tracker website to send their queries to a member of the Support Team.

Originally designed to help school staff communicate with their on-site technicians, the Issue Tracker has now been given added functionality to empower all staff members to raise cases on-line.

Previously, school staff needed to collaborate with a Nominated Contact if they wanted to obtain help from the Support Team. The release of mySchool Issue Tracker now reduces this need, making it possible for all staff members to raise queries through this dedicated site.

The site is found at https://tracker.atomwide.com. User access is controlled via the same LGfL USO (Unified Sign On) account that is used to access other LGfL/TRUSTnet services, such as StaffMail.

Currently the website offers the ability to get help on any of the following services:

 

AutoText

http://text.atomwide.com/key_features.html

 

Digital Signage

https://signage.atomwide.com/home/why_digital_signage.html

 

Local On-site Technician Support

https://tech.atomwide.com/about_us.html

 

Managed WiFi

http://atomwide.com/Summary_page/Services/wireless.html

 

ParentComms | Pay+

http://cashless.atomwide.com/key_benefits.html

 

School Security | CCTV

http://security.atomwide.com/help_secure_your_school.html

 

SIMS Support

http://atomwide.com/Summary_page/Services/sims_support.html

 

VoIP

https://voip.lgfl.org.uk/key_features.html

 

Users should be advised that cases raised through the mySchool Issue Tracker website may be referred to the schools Nominated Contact where administrative changes are being requested.

We hope that you will find this a useful addition to the services you currently benefit from.

To be kept up-to-date and informed of any future announcements of this nature, we recommend that you download the ParentComms:Mobile app

http://www.atomwide.com/mobile/staff_info.html

 

Many Thanks,

The Atomwide Support Team

01689 814777 | www.atomwide.com

Advice for schools on managing staff and pupil transfers and leavers over the Summer

As we approach the end of the school year it is important to make sure that staff members or pupils who are either transitioning between schools or moving on from them are not disadvantaged over the Summer holiday period by unnecessarily losing access to USO-enabled services.

Staff members and pupils transitioning between establishments, for example, may lose access to email accounts or digital teaching and learning resources, and importantly, year 13 pupils who are leaving their secondary school may wish to keep their USO-linked mail addresses longer, having used them as a means to be contacted by UCAS for Higher Education application purposes.

To ensure the smoothest of transitions in any of the aforementioned scenarios, please draw your school’s Nominated Contacts’ attention to the support site where advice on how to best to proceed has been given.

LGfL Schools

Support.lgfl.net

TRUSTnet Schools

Support.trustnet.pro

 

Many thanks

The Atomwide Support Team

Your Mail Archive is now live!

Providing users of the LGfL StaffMail system with a secure recovery solution for deleted or ‘lost’ emails…

We are delighted to announce the release of the LGfL TRUSTnet Mail Archive as recently showcased at the LGfL 2016 Schools Conference.

Staff that visit the site (https://mailarchive.lgfl.org.uk) will initially be able to recover emails dated back from the 1st January 2016 – Emails will be stored in the archive for 12 months before they are overwritten on a rolling 12 month cycle.  User access is controlled via the same LGfL Unified Sign On (USO) account that is used to access StaffMail itself.

Members of staff can use the Mail Archive to retrieve emails from personal accounts and shared mailboxes they are associated to, both where they have been the sender and/or the recipient. Further controls then allow the user to restore emails back to the original recipient’s mailbox.

Advanced settings are available to those with Mail Domain Administrator permissions that allow these users to retrieve messages for other users based at their school. To protect all users’ privacy, a standard staff member can view all message details, whereas a Mail Domain Administrator will only be able to view the message headers sufficiently to assist another user recover their own email.

For additional security One Time Password (OTP) tags are required if registered to the user’s USO account. If you would like further information or details on where you can purchase OTP tags for users at your school, please visit the Atomwide Shop Site (https://shop.atomwide.com/).

To be kept up-to-date and informed of any future announcements of this nature, we recommend that you download the ParentComms:Mobile app.

http://www.atomwide.com/mobile/staff_info.html

Best Wishes!

The Team at Atomwide

Enhancements to Support Site Pages within the “Service Desk” Tab

During the school Easter holidays, we have rolled-out various enhancements to the “Raise an issue” and “View issues” pages within the “Service Desk” tab of the USO support site.

Service Desk | Raise an issue – Triage Questions

Depending on the topic selected, Nominated Contacts may now be presented with specific triage questions when raising a case. The purpose of these questions is to gather all pertinent information while the case is being raised.

Currently, you will only notice this change when selecting topic “Sophos”, “GridStore support (NOT sales)”, or “Internet access”.

Answering questions displayed on the triage screen is not compulsory – free-form text can still be entered instead of/as well during the final step. However, we would appreciate answers to the requested information so that the case can be handled more efficiently, and therefore resolved more quickly.

Service Desk | Raise an issue/ View issues – Affected Establishments

To better serve the increasing number of schools forming Multi-Academy Trusts (which often cross Local Authority boundaries) and similar growth in the number of support companies looking after schools spread across many boroughs, major changes to the structure of USO have been under development. These changes mean that lists of schools can now be organised according to different types of Group rather than only by geographic area/Local Authority.

As a result of the Easter changes:

1. Schools can now be picked from relevant groups during the “Raise an issue” process.
2. The “Affecting LA” drop-down list on the “View issues” page has been replaced by “Affecting group”.
3. Users who have to pick an LA when logging into the support site will now be able to create/manage cases for any of their schools in any of their LAs by selecting the default/top option in the pick list.

Schools who are part of a Multi-Academy Trust which is not listed on the support site are welcome to have an appropriate Group created – just raise a case containing the name of the MAT, the DfE codes of the member schools, and the URL of an official public website which confirms this information.

We hope that these changes are beneficial to you. As always, do not hesitate to contact the Service Desk if you experience any problems.

To be kept up-to-date and informed of any future announcements of this nature, we recommend that you download the ParentComms:Mobile app.

http://www.atomwide.com/mobile/staff_info.html

Many thanks,

The Atomwide Support Team

myUSO School Calendar…

Easy access to shared calendars for all staff members…

As announced recently at the LGfL 2016 Conference the School Calendars feature is now live, and is already proving a popular addition to the ever-increasing range of services within myUSO. The School Calendar page allows users to see a ‘read only’ view of calendars available to them from within the myUSO portal (https://my.uso.im).

Key benefits for schools include the following:

• A convenient means to keep staff up-to-date with school dates and events
• The option to show the calendar via myUSO to all staff at the school or restrict it to only users who have full read-write access to the mailbox
• It’s exclusively for LGfL / TRUSTnet StaffMail users
• A ‘read only’ view preventing unauthorised editing
• The need to log into multiple shared mailboxes is reduced
• There’s no limit on the number of calendars available to view
• Calendars can be viewed at any time or place via myUSO
• It’s another feature produced for LGfL / TRUSTnet schools at no extra cost for them

Users that wish to view the School Calendar within the myUSO website should consult with their school’s Nominated Contact who will be able to enable the feature via the Support Site.

If you’d like to feedback on this or another feature of your LGfL / TRUSTnet connection supported by Atomwide, or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Best wishes,

The Atomwide Team

01689 814700 | info@atomwide.com | www.atomwide.com

To be kept up-to-date and informed of any future announcements of this nature, we recommend that you download the ParentComms:Mobile app.

http://www.atomwide.com/mobile/staff_info.html

Good news for StaffMail users…

Both at LGfL and Atomwide we’re committed to ensuring that the products and services we’ve designed and built for use in schools continue to evolve; satisfying the ever increasing demand they need to fulfil. To that end, we’ve got some good news!

LGfL and TRUSTnet StaffMail users across the country have had their mailbox limit doubled and it hasn’t cost them a penny.

Due to increasing demand, every StaffMail user now has 20GB mailbox space as standard, an increase from 10GB. The upgrade has been enacted by LGfL and is included in LGfL schools’ existing contract.

The benefit? More space at no additional cost.                        

There’s plenty more in the pipeline concerning the email services we supply to schools so do keep your eye on this blog for updates, especially concerning our MailArchive feature, and TrustMail, the new email service for pupils that will monitor emails and report on evidence of bullying, self-harm, radicalisation and grooming.

We hope you find all the extra space handy. If you have any queries about StaffMail you can always check our FAQ page here, or the service desk is there to help, Monday to Friday from 8am – 6pm.

https://support.lgfl.org.uk/

https://support.trustnet.pro/

020 82 55 55 55 – Option 3

Happy Mailing!

The Team at LGfL / Atomwide

New Training Course Dates for the Spring

New training courses are now available for nominated contacts from both LGfL and TRUSTnet connected schools to attend. The courses cover a wide range of the services included in the LGfL bundle and are available for both technical and non-technical staff alike.

The training is hosted at Atomwide’s offices in Orpington, is free to attend, and also includes a complimentary lunch!

Please see below a list of the available dates for the Spring.

21st April 2016 – Training for Primary School Nominated Contacts (non-technical staff)

26th April 2016 – Training for Primary School Nominated Contacts (for technical staff)

28th April 2016 – Training for Secondary School Nominated Contacts

05th May 2016 – Web filtering using WebScreen 2.0 for Nominated Contacts

For further information on any of the courses or to reserve a place please visit the support site, relevant links below.

LGfL Schools

https://support.lgfl.org.uk/secure/training/bookcourse.aspx

TRUSTnet Schools

https://support.trustnet.pro/secure/training/bookcourse.aspx

Best wishes,

The Training Team at Atomwide