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Many businesses will have shifted to remote working throughout the pandemic. Parts of the charity sector were no exception, with 95% saying they were working from home. But this can bring with it many risks and potential vulnerabilities to an organisation. Yet, 45% of charities said they had taken no extra precautions to protect staff from cyber attacks while working from home. 

These can be devastating. They can cost you thousands, result in data being permanently lost, and seriously damage revenue and reputation. 

Many charities don’t realise that they too can fall victim to cyber attacks, believing criminals only target larger corporations. Yet a third of charities experienced a cyber attack in the last 12 months. So with no one safe from cybercriminals, here are the top three reasons to keep your charity cyber secure.

Revenue

Cyber attacks vary massively. You could fall victim to a phishing scam or you could be the victim of ransomware. Ransomware is malware that steals your data and refuses to return it unless you pay a sum. Paying the ransom itself can be costly, but attacks can also put your charity on hold. With data lost and systems at a standstill, your shop may have to shut until it’s taken care of. And this can weigh heavily on a charity’s revenue and profits.

Cyber attacks can also lead to the loss of customers. Some customers will not trust organisations that can’t protect their data, and may decide to support other causes instead.

Productivity 

Following an attack, you may have to restore data, fix systems, improve security for the future, inform supporters and customers if their personal data has been compromised, and clean up the PR mess. It’s a killer of productivity. This is time that could be better spent bringing in money for your charity.

It may also affect morale amongst your staff and volunteers. They want the best for the charity and it’s never easy to suffer a huge setback, especially if it undoes their hard work. And if their data is caught up in the attack too, that’s one more factor to worry about.

Reputation 

No one wants their personal information leaked. Cyber criminals can steal your customers’ and donors’ sensitive information like addresses and card details. If this happened, they would be understandably upset and unlikely to trust your charity again.

Bad PR can damage the charity’s reputation further if it becomes apparent that security measures were perhaps overlooked. The word might spread that your charity does not do enough to protect its supporters, which can be a difficult accusation to overcome.

It may seem that cyber attacks only happen to the big corporations, but that is simply not the case. And during the pandemic, with working from home and increased anxiety for criminals to exploit, attacks have only become more common. Are you ready to protect your charity?

Nisyst Cyber Security has been at the forefront of the UK tech scene for almost 30 years. Protect your charity from cyber attacks today. Call us on 01204 706 000.

Malware, viruses, spyware, and phishing – if you aren’t in the know, it can sound like a completely different language. It can feel overwhelming trying to understand cyber security and all the various threats. And all too often, these terms are explained using technical jargon without thinking about the average person.

So we put together this simple guide that tells you clearly, in simple English, what each is and why it is important for you to protect your systems from these types of cyber security threats.

Malware

Malware is a blanket term used to describe malicious software. It is any software designed to intentionally cause harm to a device, server, client, or computer network. This includes spyware, viruses, and ransomware (which we will cover below). 

When a user clicks a dangerous link, it downloads and installs the malware onto the system. Depending on what kind of software it is, it can go on to inflict damage, steal your data, or spy on your activity.

Virus

Viruses spread when people make innocent mistakes, such as using USBs with viruses on them and downloading infected files. Opening attachments in suspicious-looking emails can also download a virus onto your device. It is important to protect your system from viruses because they can slow down your computer, cause crashes, damage programs, and in worse cases, cause you to lose data.

Ransomware

The UK was the second most attacked country in 2019 for ransomware attacks, costing businesses £365 million. But what is ransomware? Simply put, ransomware infects your computer and holds your data hostage. If you pay a sum of money, you might get your data back, but you also might not. 

It is always a good idea to keep off-site backups. Ransomware is dangerous because while your data may eventually be returned, that doesn’t mean the attackers haven’t kept a copy for themselves. These attacks can cost businesses thousands and quickly destroy their reputation. A famous example is the WannaCry ransomware that attacked the NHS’s IT systems.

Spyware 

Just like it sounds, this is a software that enables a user to obtain information about your activity. They can watch what you do on your computer without you even knowing. Spyware is dangerous as it can steal sensitive information such as card details, login details, and monitor your activity. Not only that, but spyware is difficult to detect. Using an antivirus with anti-spyware features can help protect your system.

Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated with their methods to steal information and infect devices with malicious software. It can be difficult to keep up with all the various terms and phrases, but as criminals find newer, more sophisticated ways to infiltrate businesses and steal their information, it is important to stay on top of it all. 

Knowing their methods is half the battle. The other half is protecting your business with effective cyber security solutions, giving your business the best chance against cybercriminals. 

Are you ready to protect your business? Put your mind at ease with Nisyst Cyber Security. For more information, contact us on 01204 706000.