In mid-2016, a statistic stating that there were a huge 6 million instances of online fraud and cybercrime in the UK alone was released. When the Office for National Statistics released this figure, the nation truly realised the nature of the horrifying fact that this is one of the fastest growing areas of crime.
While the government has unveiled a recent programme with £1.9bn behind it to protect the UK from cyber criminals until 2020, this still remains a concern for businesses and, especially, for how the investment will affect the charity retail business and any related SMEs.
Where Will the Money Go?
MD of cyber security experts Octree, Tony Richardson, spoke at a recent conference about the new programme. Beforehand, he discussed his concerns about where the money will go, questioning where it will be spent and whether charities will benefit from it at all:
“Will it be a success? That depends on where the money is spent. One of the problems, for example, in the police force, is a lack of skilled people, and I think that training and awareness should be top of the government’s agenda.”
ICT Course Solution?
He went on to explain that, in the long term, it is all about education and training and encouraging young people to take the ICT-type course to gain knowledge in cyber security. One of the main concerns in that there are now fewer people studying these related topics than there were 20 years ago.
For all organisations, especially charities, training has to be moved up in the order of priorities. When it comes to cyber disasters such as the recent accounts of Ransomware, the delivery is mostly by email or website, therefore people need to be educated on the topic. Within a charity business, it is just as important, if not more, to be fully aware and prepared for suspicious emails and have the knowledge to resolve the situation.
At the conference, Tony gave a rundown of common attacks that he has encountered and how it can affect businesses, including charities. He stated:
“I became involved with a financial services firm after a ransomware infection, called CryptoWall, had completely compromised their systems, locking them out. This was due to their incumbent IT firm not ensuring that basic anti-malware was installed on their computers.”
“They didn’t have a backup and their files were completely locked, so their choice was to pay a significant ransom or attempt to rebuild their data and database from paper records.”
While there are many types of cyber security threats for businesses and charities, it’s the social element which is the biggest threat. We are all a part of a society wanting to help and provide information to others, but the fundamental problem is that people are just not aware of the potential risks.
Charities need to become more aware of the dangers regarding this issue, as well as the options to prevent and solve it, but many of them believe that a solution is viable, yet expensive. However, you cannot simply ignore the dangers and hope to not be affected. There are always ways to ensure that you and your charity structure is not affected without breaking the bank.
Taxpayers will be expected to use software account systems to record the transactions and categorise the types of income. While this could seem like a huge change for charities, especially those who aren’t using more modern technology, it could also be a positive opportunity to tighten cybersecurity.
Tony Richardson said, “I’m a great believer in cloud computing improving security, because cybersecurity becomes the responsibility of the software provider, which is in a better position to address those issues.”
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