The High Risk of Cyber Attacks on Nonprofit Organizations

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

As a nonprofit organization, particularly a small or medium-sized one, you might not consider yourself a prime target for cybercriminals. However, recent data reveals that nonprofit organizations like yours are increasingly becoming victims of high-severity cyber attacks. In this blog post, we'll explore the reasons behind this trend and offer guidance on how you can protect your organization from cyber threats.

What is High-Severity Cybercrime

High-severity cybercrime refers to a type of cyberattack that has the potential to cause significant harm to an organization or individual. These attacks are typically more sophisticated and targeted, often aiming to steal sensitive information, disrupt operations, or cause financial damage.

In simpler terms, imagine a burglar breaking into a house. A regular break-in might involve the burglar stealing a few valuable items and leaving. However, a high-severity break-in would be more like a skilled thief who not only steals valuable items but also manipulates the house's security system, accesses personal information, and causes long-lasting damage.

Similarly, high-severity cybercrimes are carried out by skilled cybercriminals who use advanced techniques to infiltrate an organization's digital systems, steal important data, and cause lasting harm. These attacks can have severe consequences, such as financial loss, reputational damage, and even the end of your organization as you know it.

Why Nonprofits Are A Target For Cybercrime

While your nonprofit organization may not rank high in terms of total attacks detected, it could still be the target of critical-severity attacks. There are several reasons why cybercriminals might target nonprofits like yours with such sophisticated attacks:

  1. Limited resources for cybersecurity: You might prioritize directing funds towards your cause and minimizing operating costs. This might mean running outdated software, not having a skilled IT security team, and lacking robust cybersecurity measures.

  2. Insufficient staff training: Limited cybersecurity budget can mean that staff training gets overlooked. Without proper education, your team could be more susceptible to cyber traps like phishing attacks.

  3. Valuable data: Your nonprofit likely holds donor credit card information and other sensitive data, making it an attractive target for cybercriminals.

  4. Supply chain vulnerabilities: Despite your smaller size, your nonprofit is still part of the supply chain and can be exploited as the "weakest link" by attackers targeting larger organizations.

  5. Political agendas: Sometimes, hackers have political motivations, as we've seen with recent attacks on European charities helping Ukrainian refugees.

Recommendations for Protecting Your Nonprofit

The FBI recommends all small and medium-sized businesses – that includes you, nonprofits – to be vigilant about their digital hygiene. That means basics like strong password policies, multi-factor authentication, regular backups, and prompt security patches. But that's just the tip of the cybersecurity iceberg.

To further protect your organization, consider the following steps:
  1. Say goodbye to old tech: Invest in up-to-date software and operating systems.

  2. Perform regular backups: Ensure that important data is regularly backed up and stored securely to minimize the impact of a potential breach.

  3. School your staff: Educate your staff on security threats and social engineering attacks, and regularly test their awareness and response capabilities.

  4. Invest in stronger cybersecurity protection: Implement advanced endpoint protection technologies for real-time, end-to-end visibility across your organization's infrastructure.

Protecting Your Nonprofit Organization with Lockwell

To give your nonprofit an extra boost in protection, consider teaming up with Lockwell. It’s simple, affordable cybersecurity designed specifically for small organizations like yours.

How Lockwell Can Help

  1. Comprehensive protection: Lockwell has you covered against a wide range of cyber threats, ensuring that your valuable data and systems remain secure.

  2. AI-powered defense: Lockwell uses artificial intelligence to spot and respond to potential threats fast. That's like having a digital watchdog on duty 24/7.

  3. Easy and affordable: Lockwell offers an easy-to-use, affordable solution that is purpose-built for small businesses. This makes it a practical choice for nonprofits that may have limited resources for cybersecurity.

Lockwell’s gives your nonprofit a powerful shield against cyber attacks. With a cybersecurity partner like Lockwell in your corner, you can focus on what matters most: making a positive impact through your organization's mission.