A fifth of charities experienced cyber security breach in last year, finds survey

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4th April 2019 17:15 - Voluntary

A fifth of charities experienced cyber security breach in last year: A government survey has found one in five charities has fallen foul of a security breach in the last twelve months.

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2019 conducted by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports has found 22% of charities reported a breach in 2018.

This is the fourth report of its kind and found a similar number of breaches to last year.

The most common breaches or attacks were found to be phishing emails with 81% of charities affected, a fifth also experienced the attackers impersonating their organisation online and 18% had fallen victim to viruses, malware or ransomware.

When asked about the employees handling their organisation’s cyber security, 69% said they were confident that staff had the necessary skills for the role, however, only 29% of charity employees had received cyber security training within their role.

The average annual cost for charities who have been subject to a cyber breach was £9,470 compared to businesses who faced an average cost of £4,180. Discussing their losses, a fifth (21%) said they lost either data or assets.

Targeted cyber attacks were more commonly used against larger charities with an income of more than £500,000 per year – with over half of those polled (52%) disclosing a breach.

The report revealed that compared to last year, charities were far more in the know about cyber security, with three-quarters saying cyber security was a priority for their organisation. This compared to just over a half (53%) last year.

It also found 36% of charities had written cyber security policies in place for 2019 compared to just a fifth last year (21%).

The report notes that more than a third of charities (36%) have updated their cyber security policies and processes as a direct result of GDPR. 



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