UK charities are bigger cyber-attacks targets than they realise.

UK Charities are bigger cyber-attack targets than they realise

Many charities, especially the smaller ones, fail to realise the value of the data they possess, according to a report by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). Unfortunately, cybercriminals do realise the value of this data, making charities vulnerable targets to a cyber-attack.

While the average person may find it unconscionable to steal from a charity, there are a number of perpetrators looking for some financial gain, besides the typical cyber-criminal. These include:

  • Suppliers and third parties- It’s common for charities to outsource the responsibilities of running, maintaining and securing their data.
  • Terrorists- Terrorist groups are likely to deface websites and publish victims’ personal details online, which is a process known as doxing.
  • Nation states- Nation-states use cyber-crime to further their agendas.
  • Insiders- Disgruntled staff with access to employer’s data may commit cyber-crimes seeking money or simply for revenge.
  • Hacktivists- Hackers may target charities if they disagree with the charity’s purpose or are motivated by a specific cause.

In order to prevent cyber-criminals from accessing your charity’s valuable data, the NCSC Small Charity Guide recommends taking these precautions:

  • Back up your data and protect it with strong passwords.
  • Protect your organisation from malware.
  • Keep your smartphones and tablets safe.

Use strong passwords to protect against cyber-threats

Here is an example of the small differences in passwords and how it can make a huge difference to would-be cyber-attackers.

PasswordTime to crack in 2018
charity22 milliseconds
Charity18 hours,

58 minutes,

27 seconds

Charity15 months,

2 weeks,

3 days

CharityNo11 millennia,

7 centuries,

6 decades


For additional information on protecting your charity, read our past blog post, Is your charity doing enough to protect its trustees?

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