Ukrainian conflict prompts cyber attack fears for charities

Charities need to be “cyber prepared and resilient” amid growing global tensions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The NCVO is warning that “part of modern warfare is cyber-attacks and our way of life, particularly how we run organisations, is vulnerable to malicious disruption".

It is urging charities to access online support to ensure they are protected online as well as attend a free webinar on cyber security on 16 March.

In addition, charities need to check their disaster recovery plans in case of cyber-attacks.

“This is a plan for how your organisation would respond in the event of a disaster, such as a fire, terrorism, or IT failure,” said NCVO head of networks and influencing Alex Farrow.

“This is about minimising disruption. Consider how you’d contact people if messaging and email providers stopped, if you couldn’t access your building, or if a critical number of staff and volunteers were unavailable.”

Rising costs due to the conflict, particularly around energy bills, also need to be planned for.

In addition, charities with families, friends and colleagues immediately impacted by Russia’s invasion need to be supported.

Their “distress, concern and emotional toll…will be great”, said Farrow.

This week charity partnership the Disasters Emergency Committee launched a funding appeal for victims of the conflict in Ukraine. This is being match funded by the UK government.

Farrow also urges charities to campaign around curbs on freedom and civil liberties should Ukraine fall under Russian control.

Ukrainian charity leaders have released a #KyivDeclaration outlining how the country can be supported amid the conflict.

This includes providing financial aid to fund local humanitarian organisations as well as help track war crimes carried out by Russia.

It wants “technology and support to groups recording Putin’s war crimes and to “fund the human rights groups and lawyers who will ensure that Putin and his cronies are one day brought to justice”.

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