Online Safety Update

Created for all Northumberland Senso Safeguarding Users

An important warning from the Cyber Protect Team at Durham Constabulary

We have received the following message from colleagues at Durham Constabulary. Please ensure the relevant staff in schools are made aware as the individual may start to target schools in Northumberland, thank you.

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Microsoft has stopped security updates for its operating system, Windows 7

As you will be aware from the media, Microsoft has stopped security updates for its operating system, Windows 7. While users of Windows 7 are currently still able to use their devices, Microsoft won’t be fixing any vulnerabilities with this operating system.

Devices that are running on Windows 7 will become far more susceptible to being attacked by cyber criminals, and become targets for hackers.

Microsoft have issued information on their website. If you would like to read more, go to Microsoft.com and search ‘Windows 7 support ended’.


Why should I worry about this in a school or an academy?

An increasing number of schools and colleges are being seriously impacted by cyber incidents: perhaps a phishing attempt to steal money and passwords, or a ransomware attack that encrypts files preventing access. But why?

• Many cyber incidents are untargeted.

They can affect any school that doesn’t have basic levels of protection.

• Schools hold plenty of sensitive information.

For example, staff and parents’ bank details, medical information about students, safeguarding records. All this has to be kept safe and confidential.

• Cyber criminals want to make money.

They understand that an organisation’s information is often sufficiently important to that organisation that they might be prepared to pay a ransom to get it back.


What should I do?

If your school is still using Windows 7 desktops or laptops, we strongly advise against accessing any sensitive or personal information.


What are my options to ensure my network and users remain safe?


We recommend where possible, updating the operating system to a supported one, such as Windows 10, or logging on with another device like a tablet, to access any sensitive or personal data.

I am unable to upgrade my devices to Windows 10 because they are too old, what are my options?

Rather than having to scrap the device, consider replacing Windows 7 with a safe and secure operating system.


For schools and academies who are signed up to Curriculum ICT & eLearning SLA 1, we offer a solution to this problem that essentially turns your old Windows 7 device into a device that operates just like a Chromebook. We have recently run pilots at two sites and are confident this solution works well.


For £15/annum per device, we can assist you in putting your school's older PCs (and even Macs) back to work. It turns aging laptops and desktops into fast, secure Chrome devices that you can manage alongside Chromebooks in the Google Admin console.


If you are interested in using this solution and would like some additional information, please complete the following form and we will be in touch with you in due course.

Important action if your school becomes infected by malware

If you believe your school may have been infected with malware, these steps may help limit the impact of the infection.


  1. Immediately disconnect the infected computers, laptops or tablets from all network connections, whether wired, wireless or mobile phone based.
  2. Consider whether turning off your Wi-Fi and disabling any core network connections (including switches) might be necessary in a very serious case.
  3. Seek technical support immediately from the NCC helpdesk (01670 627004), and by sending an email to itsecurity@northumberland.gov.uk