Is your school's heating system at risk of being hacked?

The temperature has plummeted and it’s even started snowing again in areas around the UK. Just this morning, the radio announced a number of local schools and nurseries which have had to close down due to heating failures! Could this have been avoided?

Regular school boiler checks and services

It may sound obvious but the best thing you can do is ensure that your boilers and heating systems are checked and serviced regularly. Also check that all radiator valves are operating correctly.

If you are operating a trace heating system, be sure to check that it’s working on a regular basis. A trace heating system is a tiny metallic strip which has a small electric charge and keeps the pipework just above freezing temperature.

If you need help keeping track of tasks involving your boiler and heating systems, make use of the reminder and training facilities on iAM Compliant. It will save you time and money in the long run!

Are school heating systems hackable?

A recent article by The Register, explained how heating systems in schools are at risk of being hacked. Security researchers have discovered that “the web interfaces of heating controllers in many schools are accessible on the public internet and fundamentally insecure.” This is apparently quite a common occurrence and has even happened to a school in Essex recently!

Smart building controllers and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) systems are great tools for controlling large buildings, however, if they are installed on to an insecure public internet network, they become vulnerable to hackers. This is usually done by the person installing the system rather than the school itself, due to having a lack of understanding about web security.

It’s not isolated to HVAC systems either. Many building management systems control things like door access control too! If you’re unsure about the security of your system, it may be worth contacting your IT support or HVAC provider to find out which network it is using and its safety against hackers.

Keep warm and keep safe everybody!

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