NewsMarch 6, 2018 @ 1:31 PM

New Cybersecurity Guide Reminds Small Charities That They Are Not Immune to Cybercrime

A new cybersecurity guide published by the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) emphasized the point that small charities are “not immune to cybercrime.”

On March 1, the NCSC released its “Cyber Security: Small Charity Guide” to help relief-based organizations and similar nonprofits protect themselves against security threats online.

“Charities are not immune to cybercrime,” wrote Helen Stephenson, chief executive of the Charity Commission for England and Wales, in the guide’s foreword. “Perpetrators do not distinguish between their victims, and charities are as likely to be targeted as private firms or the general public.”

Stephenson also noted that everyone from donors to employees and trustees needs to take steps to bolster the digital security of the nonprofit sector.

A Cybersecurity Guide for Small Charities

The guide outlined helpful advice to help small charities protect themselves from cyberthieves, including how to implement a robust data backup strategy and how to detect malware by installing antivirus software. It went on to emphasize the importance of two-factor authentication (2FA) and regular software updates for mobile devices. It also explained how reporting guidelines can help nonprofit organizations track suspected phishing attacks and signs of fraud.

The security measures discussed in the NCSC’s guide may help small charities safeguard their funds. As the agency noted in a blog post, charities need to protect their assets so that they can continue to operate and maintain the trust of their donors.

If a charity’s data falls into the wrong hands, malicious actors could use it to prey upon victims who are already vulnerable. They could also launch a ransomware attack to prevent the charity from accessing its information. Depending on the duration of the infection, such an incident could threaten the long-term viability of a charitable organization.

Helping Charities Strengthen Their Security Posture

With the insights from the newly released guide, small charities can further strengthen their cybersecurity by seeking certification with the U.K.’s Cyber Essentials initiative. Larger charities can use this guide, also published by the NCSC, to bolster their security posture.

The main takeaway from the NCSC’s cybersecurity guide is that the world of cybercrime doesn’t discriminate: Cybercriminals will strike against any organization that holds valuable data, no matter how admirable its mission. Data security is crucial to the safety of the individuals charities aim to serve as well as the reputations they must protect to maintain a donor base.

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David Bisson

Contributing Editor

David Bisson is an infosec news junkie and security journalist. He works as Contributing Editor for Graham Cluley Security News and Associate Editor for Tripwire's "The State of Security" blog.