Cyber security biggest threat to sector


Charities must remain vigilant and relevant 

28th January 2020 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Charities remain ill equipped for cyber attacks and need to prioritise online security higher, according to a new report.

Road Ahead outlines key areas affecting the sector and says cyber security is a top priority for the third sector as many organisations are working with sub-standard and outdated tools.

As scams and attacks were becoming ever more sophisticated, the threat is not lessening but increasing.

Cyber security remains a high priority for charities with many working with “outdated tools and systems”, according to the report, which is published annually by NCVO.

It looks at the key issues to affect the sector over the coming year, with cyber threats listed as a top priority.

The 2020 report warns of the need to be vigilant to attacks from criminals and hackers, who care becoming more skilled at scamming charities.

It predicts email fraud to become even more sophisticated and in order for charities to protect valuable funds, assets and good reputation, it will be crucial for all to have greater awareness of cyber-attacks and put a range of security measures in place.

The report states: “A lot of charities are still working with outdated tools and systems that don’t support technological developments. Money is one of the main barriers and many charities would update their IT infrastructure if they had sufficient funds. Cloud services can offer great alternatives in terms of cost savings, flexibility and scalability – about two thirds of charities are already using them. Charities can also make use of discounts offered to them by many software providers.

“Using the latest technology is not just about innovation and growth. Outdated tools can also lead to security risks exposing organisations to data breaches. For example, when Windows 7 runs out in January 2020, charities might risk leaving their systems and information vulnerable to cyber-attacks.”

According to a survey from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, one in five charities experienced a data breach or cyber-attack in 2018, with phishing emails being the most common attack reported. Unsurprisingly, a majority of charities reported cybersecurity as a priority (75%), however only a few had provided training or invested in cybersecurity.