West Midlands Cyber Resilience Centre (WMCRC) has launched a free membership aimed specifically at charities and third sector organisations to help them keep their funds and the personal data they hold safe.

With over 14,000 registered charities based in the region and with so much fundraising and charity donations now made online, the WMCRC is urging charities to be vigilant to the threat of cyber-crime and sign up for a free membership with the centre.

The centre’s Charity Membership provides charities, not-for-profits and third sector organisations that have under 50 employees with access to a range of resources and toolkits to help them identify their risks and vulnerabilities, as well as providing guidance on the steps they can take to increase their levels of protection.

Alongside the resources and toolkits offered as part of the core membership, should your charity need further support the WMCRC offers additional services to help you mitigate the cyber security risks your core membership has identified.

In a recent case in the West Midlands, a lady who raised a six-figure sum for her chosen charity was targeted by a hacker who found out about her fundraising efforts on social media.

The hacker managed to access her webmail address and started monitoring all the emails coming in and out of her account. The password was easy to guess, and she hadn’t turned on two-factor authentication. That meant that when the time came to transfer the funds to go to the charity, the hacker simply intercepted the email, changed the bank account details, and had the funds redirected to their own account.

Fortunately, the banks helped to recover most of the funds, but this case highlights how supporters of charities can be at risk and how charities can play a vital role in providing guidance to their supporters, so they are aware and no what to look out for.

Alison Hurst, Director of The Cyber Resilience Centre for the West Midlands said: “Cyber-attacks like this one might seem hard to believe, as you wouldn’t think cyber criminals would target a person who is trying to raise money for a good cause, sadly that isn’t the case.”

“While it is tempting to think cyber-attacks only happen to high-profile, high turnover businesses and charities, research shows that regardless of the size and complexity of your organisation, anyone can be targeted.

“There are some simple measures that not only safeguard you but can protect your devices and systems too. We understand that charities face the same financial strains as other businesses and that cyber security services are often expensive.

“However, this is where our cyber security service offering can help charities to focus on key areas of cyber security including securing your website from cyber-attacks to protect all your online activities, sensitive data, and business from cyber-attacks through our Web Application Vulnerability Assessment.

“We are here to support all charities in the region, big or small, just get in touch with the team via www.wmcrc.co.uk/contact-us so that we can help you.”

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