Third of charities impacted by cybercrime amid Covid-19 health crisis

A third of charities have suffered a cyber attack during the Covid-19 pandemic, as more evidence emerges of the threat the voluntary sector faces online from criminals.

Phishing, where criminals try to obtain sensitive data by pretending to be a trustworthy source, and malware are the most common attacks on charities.

In addition almost half have not taken any steps to increase protection of staff working from home, according to the research released by insurer Ecclesiastical.

It found that one in seven charities had been the victim of phishing, while 5% have been impacted by malware and 3% by ransomware.

The findings have been published to coincide with Charity Fraud Awareness Week (19-23 October) to warn charities of the risks they face from criminals.

Earlier this week the Charity Commission and Fraud Advisory Panel issued warnings to charities of the heightened risks they face online amid the pandemic due to a rise in home working and economic uncertainty.

Angus Roy, charity director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “The move to remote working has presented technological challenges for all organisations, and this has created opportunities for cyber-criminals. Like everyone else, charities can be susceptible to fraud and cyber-crime.

“Our research has found that while some charities have taken steps to protect staff working from home, many are still not taking the threat of cyber fraud seriously. All charities, even those with relatively small reserves to call upon, can take simple steps to boost resilience to fraud and cybercrime.”

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