Parents’ financial details stolen in cyber attack on Geraldton Catholic school

Geraldton Guardian
Nagle Catholic College.
Camera IconNagle Catholic College. Credit: Adam Poulsen

Parents of Catholic school students in Geraldton have been urged to watch their bank accounts for suspicious transactions after a cyber attack on Nagle Catholic College.

The College yesterday confirmed it was a victim of a breach, saying bank account and credit card information may have been stolen, including signatures scanned when parents paid school fees.

A Catholic Education Western Australia spokeswoman said the body had been been advised of incidents where employees may have been targeted in an attempted cyber attack.

“CEWA has systems and measures in place to monitor and respond to cyber security incidents and continues to work closely with cyber security experts to mitigate and address a potential breach,” she said.

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“In instances where a breach may have occurred, CEWA follows a stringent reporting process including notification to those who may be affected.”

An Education Department spokeswoman said the State was not aware of any hacked public schools.

The four-day cyber-security attack, which began on Tuesday last week, has been described as “highly sophisticated and automated” and reportedly targeted other education institutions known for their financial services.

In a letter to parents, Nagle Catholic College principal Rob Crothers advised them to treat every email as suspicious, monitor accounts closely for strange transactions and contact their banks for advice on money protection.

An Office of the Australian Information Commissioner spokeswoman said the private education sector was the fourth-biggest victim of data breaches. From January to March 2019, 19 private schools suffered cyber attacks.

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