The growth in cyber based crime is increasing, and is fast becoming a key risk for churches, charities and Not-For-Profits to be aware of. Your organisation no doubt relies on email, online banking, social media platforms, apps and other software programs to manage the day to day operation of your ministry. It is time for churches to put cyber risks under the spotlight, be aware of the dangers and minimise the chance of becoming a victim of cyber-crime.
What is Cyber-crime?
Criminal activity carried out using a computer and/or the internet, with the goal of gaining unauthorised access to, or procuring digital information – primarily of a personal or financial nature
Before implementing strategies to counteract a cyber-attack, let’s first understand the different types of risks, and how they may affect your organisation.
Potential effects of a cyber-attack on your organisation:
Cyber criminals will often target organisations such as churches and Not-For-Profits because they tend to have limited resources, making them more vulnerable to attacks.
This, teamed with older computers which haven’t been regularly updated, a large proportion of volunteer staff who may not be well trained in information and data security processes, use of free software programs or cheap web hosting and lack of adequate resources to guard data and defend against cyber-attacks, make for easy targets.
Social engineering/Phishing Emails
Social Engineering uses deception to manipulate individuals into providing confidential or personal information that may be used for fraudulent purposes.
A common example is where a person receives a phishing email which is a clever, authentic looking email aimed at tricking the individual into providing sensitive information or carrying out tasks through deceptive means.
It could include clicking on a malicious link or attachment, or a re-direction to a fake website which requires you to update your details and provide a password.
Quite often the email will look like it comes from a legitimate sender.
The church treasurer received an email from the Senior Pastor, who was overseas on a mission trip at the time.
The email requested that they transfer $5000 urgently to his bank account as a situation had arisen where the additional funds were required.
The bank BSB and account details were provided in the email.
The email appeared to have come from the Pastor’s email address, the circumstances lined up with the fact that he was overseas at the time, and the request for additional funds was not entirely unreasonable in the situation.
Without any additional checks and balances, the funds were transferred, only to realise later that the Pastor’s email had been hacked, and funds transferred to a cyber-criminal.
Statistics show that 23% of recipients open phishing emails and 11% click on attachments.
How can I tell if an email is a phishing email?
In 2017 Australia faced over 10 million cyber-attacks.
Many of these attacks are directed at small businesses or not-for-profits, particularly because their security protocols and systems are less sophisticated than large corporates.
What to do if you receive a phishing email
How to avoid becoming a victim of a phishing email or social engineering scam
Software is used to disrupt computer or mobile operation, gather sensitive information or gain access to a computer. Quite literally – Malware is MALicious softWARE.
10 tips to prevent a Malware attack
Crypto locker is malware which restricts access to computer files and demands payment in order to be removed and file access restored.
These emails can often appear to be from legitimate sources like your bank or workplace.
These types of malware attacks can cause serious damage to personal and business computers.
What to do if your computers are infected with a Crypto locker
Implement a Cyber Security Checklist
The increased frequency and sophistication of these types of cyber-crimes highlights the need for all organisations and individuals to be more vigilant around all manner of online activity.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have a helpful guide The Little Black Book of Scams to assist you to spot, avoid and protect yourself against common scams.
Up to date information about the latest scams is also available on the Australian Government’s Scamwatch website https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/
You may also wish to subscribe to the Stay Smart Online Alert Service https://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/
In response to the increased threat of cyber-crime, the insurance industry has developed specific Cyber Liability products which specifically address these types of issues and can provide cover and assistance to deal with these types of claims.
Some of the products already offered by ACS Insurance Services, provide some limited cover for cyber-crimes, but if you are interested in pursuing more comprehensive cover please contact our office, we can advise you of further options that may be available to you.
In our next instalment we will address Privacy Breaches and the new Notifiable Data Breaches Legislation. We will discuss what your organisations obligations are, and the potential risks and penalties if you fail to comply.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website reflect some of the commercial aspects and potential risks/obligations for your Church, School or Organisation.
The information is given as a guide only and does not represent a definitive list or legal view in any way shape or form.
You are advised to seek your own professional advice on all your individual needs.
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