The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has introduced “PDNS for Schools,” a new initiative aimed at safeguarding educational institutions from accessing malicious websites. This protective DNS service, offered entirely free of charge, is set to be gradually rolled out over the coming year.
Furthermore, the program is built upon the success of the Protective Domain Name Service (PDNS), an integral part of the NCSC’s Active Cyber Defence strategy. PDNS functions as a recursive resolver, blocking access to known malicious domains, thereby bolstering network security.
PDNS for Schools not only restricts access to malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, viruses, and malicious websites but also provides valuable network health metrics and access to NCSC outreach support for issue resolution. In case of a cyber-attack, the data from PDNS is instrumental in informing and supporting the UK government’s cyber-incident response efforts. This initiative is much-needed in the education sector, which has witnessed a surge in cyber incidents.
Recent research by the NCSC revealed that over 78% of schools had experienced at least one type of cyber incident. To further enhance cybersecurity in schools, the full rollout of PDNS for Schools is expected in the first part of 2024.
Schools interested in using PDNS for Schools are encouraged to wait until the full rollout is announced in 2024. In the meantime, local authorities in England and eligible public sector networks in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, providing DNS services to schools, are encouraged to sign up for this valuable cybersecurity service. Given the increasing threats in cyberspace, this initiative aligns with the ongoing efforts to protect educational institutions from a range of cyber threats, ultimately ensuring safer online environments for students and staff alike.