Protecting your charity clients against cyber crime

28 August 2018

Your defence against digital risk

Computer code shown on light blue screen

In February we launched our guide to Risk in the Charity sector, bringing together all the insight we have gathered through working closely with our charity partners, brokers and customers. 

The guide shares our perspective on some of the topics they’ve told us are most important to them at this time including Data Protection/GDPR, funding and cyber crime.

Cyber crime

Over the last few years, cyber crime has been a growing problem, with a reported increase of 38% in cyber incidents1. Last year, 68% of charities identified cyber as a key concern for them in 20182.

Common cyber attacks

The most common attacks experienced by charities we interviewed were:
  • Ransomware 41%
  • Phishing 35%
  • Malware 24%
  • Other (website or phone) 18%
  • Denial of Service 6%
  • Password attack 6%

Why are charities under attack?

The government organisation National Cyber Security Centre identify charities as having the same risk as businesses.
Charities are subject to the same cyber vulnerabilities as other organisations and businesses that conduct financial transactions, and rely on electronically held data or information to conduct day-to-day operations.

National Cyber Security Centre

What makes them more vulnerable than businesses in some ways, is a lack of digital skills in-house to implement defences, as the NCSC also identified: “The culture of openness in the sector makes charities particularly vulnerable to some types of cyber criminal activity, such as cyber-enabled fraud and extortion.”
Lloyds Banking Group conducts an annual survey to assess the digital maturity of charities. In 2017, the UK Business Digital Index found that 49% of charities lack basic digital skills and more than 75% do not intend to invest money in this area3.

What does cyber crime mean for charities?

The consequences of a cyber attack can be far-reaching and include risks such as negative impact on their reputation, loss of data as well as the financial impact, but the risk of cyber crime itself also causes concern. Data breaches can happen simply by leaving a laptop on a bus but there are ways of protecting against these risks. 
In response, we’ve put together a guide of the risks in the sector which are most regularly experienced by charities. Endorsed by the Charities Security Forum, it’s the ideal tool to share with your charity clients to help them navigate their way through what is often perceived to be, a daunting area to tackle. The guide also highlights the areas where cyber insurance can help support charities, an area we have recently enhanced in our new Charity and Community product which includes an optional cyber section.
1The rise of cyber crime continues to accelerate
2Ecclesiastical annual tracking survey 2017
3Lloyds UK Business Digital Index 2017