Nonprofit Cybersecurity: Threats to Non-Profits (and How to Avoid Them)

Nonprofit Cybersecurity

Today, profit and nonprofit establishments have one thing in common: they rely heavily on the internet to engage with their audience. However, with increasing online functionality, nonprofit cybersecurity awareness is heightened as the threat of cyber-attacks has also magnified. Attacks include large-scale intrusions to data breaches, and more. For example, 2021 alone has seen a sudden rise in cyber-attacks.

Though giant corporations are the usual victims of cyber-attacks worldwide, attacks on non-profits also happen. Yet, despite such risks, nonprofits often overlook cyber-security, primarily due to limited resources and budgets. 

Luckily, there are some easy, practical ways to enhance cybersecurity that even modest budgets can cover. Below, we’ll dive into more detail about how to increase the cybersecurity of professional organizations, especially non-profits, and other related organizations.

Nonprofits: Easy Targets?

There are many reasons why nonprofit organizations become targeted for cyber-attacks, but the two most common reasons are that:

  • Not-for-profit organizations heavily depend on donations and collect personal information on potential and current donors, including addresses, names, and contact numbers. This has made it simpler for hackers to breach an organization’s network and steal confidential data
  • Many nonprofit entities only employ the absolute bare minimum in cyber-security training and protocols to protect them against cyber-attacks. This is mostly because nonprofit organizations typically elect to spend their limited capital on other ventures, like donor outreach. 

Nonprofit Cyber Attacks: The Most Common Cyber Threats

Cyber attacks can occur in many, different ways, but there are some particularly common methods that hackers tend to use. Depending on what an individual is targeting, like a storage device, your domain, or network, they may implement a certain cyber attack strategy.

Below, we’ve listed some of the most common cyber-attacks on non-profit organizations:

  • Data Breaches: Data breaches happen when an individual gains illicit access to a system and takes data, quickly sold. This access can be achieved through several ways, such as employee error, gaining access to login credentials, or malevolent employee intent.
  • Forced Downtime: Cybercriminals who disagree with nonprofits’ mission may break the system and place malware to keep it from operating further. For instance, propaganda organizations may wish to hack human rights not-for-profit organizations before the election to keep them from supporting pro-truth candidates.
  • Ransomware: Ransomware refers to any virus, malware, or software that employs encryption to keep your data and computer hostage. These software programs attack systems and show messages that instruct you to undertake questionable actions before retrieving data or taking control of the plans.

Data Security for Nonprofits

While investing in online defenses can be costly in certain circumstances, there are still plenty of ways you can keep your data protected that won’t run up a high cost. Here are a few steps nonprofits can take to help ensure they are secure against cyber threats. 

  • Keep Updated Software: Outdated software of nonprofit organizations gives cybercriminals a chance to manipulate their known vulnerabilities and slip past their cyber-security defenses. To prevent this, organizations need to keep updating software programs.
  • Creating Strong Passwords: Most of the time, hackers break the defenses of nonprofits due to employees’ weak passwords. Therefore, it’s essential to train the staff to use creative, strong passwords and prevent password reuse.
  • Restrict Privileges: Most nonprofits allow regular employees to modify the system, allowing cybercriminals to hack and cause a massive data breach. Thus, you must restrict the access of your permanent employees, let alone contract-based or volunteers, to administrative privileges so that they won’t make any substantial change to your system.
  • Train Employees: Another way to curb nonprofit cyber-attacks is to train employees about recognizing various phishing emails. Not just that, but also teach them to avoid visiting malicious sites.
  • Outsource Cybersecurity: Suppose you’re a nonprofit organization with no proper IT department. In that case, it’s best to outsource your nonprofit cybersecurity to specialists rather than burden your team with more responsibilities.

Computer Resources Of America

In the contemporary world, nonprofits are becoming more and more vulnerable to cyber-attacks as online intruders are beginning to notice the relative ease in breaching a nonprofit’s data. It’s essential to take steps that minimize this risk. 

We specialize in providing organizations, including non-profits, with all-inclusive IT support that they need. With customized IT consulting, you’ll get help with your significant IT challenges, such as cybersecurity threats. Moreover, we also have over 25 years of experience in managed IT assistance. 

For more info about our nonprofit cybersecurity plans, please contact us directly.

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