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Amy Laver

Posted 23 October 2019
by Amy Laver

Cybercrime – Are Your Systems Strong Enough?

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The second of our articles this Charity Fraud Awareness Week focusses on the challenges for charities protecting themselves against cybercrime.

The Charity Commission not too long ago highlighted a range of tools available to charities to tackle the risk of cybercrime within their organisations. The publication is an important reminder of the link between cybercrime and fraud, and can be viewed in full here. Research suggests that approximately 70% of all fraud is now committed online.

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2019 revealed that in 2018 over two thirds of high-income charities had recorded a cyber breach. Over 80% of these attacks faced by charities had been made by ‘phishing’ attacks (the sending of false emails attempting to impersonate credible sources and eliciting sensitive information). Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, Helen Stephenson stated that “Charities play a vital role in our society and so the diversion of charitable funds or assets via cyber-crime for criminal purposes or personal gain is particularly damaging and shocking.”

Cybercrime can be a complex issue given the pace of progress of information technology. Attackers can strike upon their victims undetected from miles away or around the corner. The damage caused can be difficult to undo, and so awareness and vigilance are often the best defence. Raising awareness amongst those often at the frontline is key: staff and volunteers.

It is vital that charities of all sizes should protect their assets and income by building strong defences. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has produced a helpful free guide on how to protect small charities from cybercrime to help the charity sector minimise risks from cyber-attacks. Larger charities should consider the NCSC’s Board Toolkit, information and advice on improving cyber security.

For more information on managing risk please contact our specialist charities’ team on 01392 207020.

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About the author

Amy Laver

Amy Laver

Associate and Solicitor

An associate in the corporate and charities & social enterprises team