How Cybercrime Affects Charities

How Cybercrime Affects Charities

A lot of organisations think that they are not big enough or important enough to be the victims of cybercrime, this is not the case.

Every organisation has data and that data is valuable and can be used against you. Charities and non-profits operate in the digital world as much as any other organisation. They use social media for fund raising, they have websites to showcase what they do and how people can get involved.

However, as Ady Hall, manager for Charities, Social Organisations and Health at Zurich Insurance stated at Zurich’s Charity Leaders Live series in 2014: ‘charities should be conscious that, like every other sector, their increasing reliance on technology makes them vulnerable to malicious attacks, data loss and reputational damage. There is a natural tendency to look on the sector with compassion, so we presume that charities are less likely victims of cyber-attacks. In fact, charities make an easy target because many think they have little in the way of sophisticated controls.”

One way in which charities fall victim to cybercrime is through online donations. Credit cards involved in fraud are often tested by making charitable donations. The Salvation Army has been a victim of this with a surge in low value donations. Organisations have also experienced donors being sent phishing emails in their name containing viruses.

Charities can also become bigger targets based upon what they do. A charity who provided family planning advice was targeted in 2012 by an anti-abortion campaigner who gained access to their website and the personal information of thousands of women using the service.  The hacker published derogatory messages across the website and threatened to publish the names and addresses of the women using the service. The Information Commissioner’s Office then proceeded to fine the charity £200,000 due to the data breach.

It is essential that all organisations, no matter what they do or how they big are, are aware of the risks of cybercrime and how it can affect them. Our blog on the Essentials for Cyber Security is a good starting point to make sure you have peace of mind. If you are at all concerned about cyber security or your IT support then please download our Cyber Security Guide here for everything that you need to know.