Press/Media Organization: Preventing Charity Fraud - Charity Fraud Awareness Week
Published Date: 06/20/2023
Featuring: Tim McGuinness, Ph.D.
Author(s): Tim McGuinness, Ph.D.
UK - United Kingdom
The Importance of Cybersecurity and Cybersafety for Charitable Organizations
Dr Tim McGuinness, SCARS – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc
Charitable organizations are increasingly at risk of cyberattacks. These attacks can have a devastating impact on charities, both financially and reputationally. In some cases, cyberattacks can even force charities to close their doors.
There are a number of reasons why charities are attractive targets for cyber attackers. First, charities often have access to sensitive data, such as donor information, financial records, and personal information about clients. This data can be valuable to cyber attackers, who may use it to commit fraud or identity theft.
Second, charities often have limited resources to invest in cybersecurity. This makes it more difficult for them to defend themselves against cyberattacks.
Third, charities are often seen as easy targets. Cyber attackers may believe that charities are less likely to report attacks or that they will be more willing to pay a ransom.
The Impact of Cyberattacks on Charities
Cyberattacks can have a number of negative impacts on charities, including:
- Financial losses: Cyberattacks can lead to direct financial losses, such as the cost of ransoms, the cost of recovering from data breaches, and the cost of investigating and responding to attacks.
- Damage to reputation: Cyberattacks can damage a charity’s reputation, making it more difficult to attract donors and volunteers.
- Loss of data: Cyberattacks can lead to the loss of sensitive data, such as donor information, financial records, and personal information about clients. This data can be valuable to cyber attackers, who may use it to commit fraud or identity theft.
- Disruption to operations: Cyberattacks can disrupt a charity’s operations, making it difficult for them to provide services to their clients
The Importance of Mitigation and Recovery Plans
It is important for charities to have mitigation and recovery plans in place to protect themselves from cyberattacks. Mitigation plans help charities to prevent cyberattacks from happening in the first place. Recovery plans help charities to respond to cyberattacks and to recover from them as quickly as possible.
Here are some tips for developing mitigation and recovery plans:
- Back up your data: It is important to back up your data regularly in case of a cyberattack. This will help you to recover your data quickly and minimize the disruption to your operations.
- Conduct a risk assessment: The first step in developing a mitigation and recovery plan is to conduct a risk assessment. This will help you to identify your charity’s most valuable assets and the threats that they face.
- Implement security controls: Once you have identified your risks, you can implement security controls to mitigate them. Some common security controls include firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and antivirus software.
- Educate your staff: It is important to educate your staff about cybersecurity best practices. This includes training them on how to identify and avoid phishing emails, how to create strong passwords, and how to keep their devices secure.
- Have a recovery plan in place: Your recovery plan should outline the steps that you will take to respond to a cyberattack and to recover from it. This plan should include steps for notifying affected individuals, restoring your data, and investigating the attack.
Cybersecurity and cybersafety are essential for charitable organizations. By implementing strong security measures and having mitigation and recovery plans in place, charities can protect themselves from cyberattacks and minimize the impact of attacks that do occur.
Here are some additional tips for charities to stay safe online:
- Use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication.
- Be careful about what information you share online.
- Keep your software up to date.
- Be wary of phishing emails and other scams.
- Report any suspicious activity to your IT department or to the authorities.
By following these tips, charities can help to protect themselves from cyberattacks and continue to provide important services to their communities.
• AWARENESS/ADVOCACY CAMPAIGN, • INDUSTRY NEWS/BLOG, • SCARS MENTIONED, • WRITTEN ARTICLE, 2023, Tim McGuinness Ph.D., and UK