Cyber-attacks have been ‘big news’ in the last few weeks, most notably the WannaCry Ransomware that caused much disruption across the NHS. So, what steps can you take to minimise the risks of a similar attack disrupting the work of your organisation?
Here are 6 top tips from the NCVO ‘Knowhownonprofit’ knowledge bank:
As a charitable organisation, you’re constantly dealing with the sensitive information and data of your most precious asset – your supporters, members or donors. Their personal details and donations could be at risk if you don’t suitably protect your computers. There is a bewildering array of malicious software out there: from worms to Trojans and phishing. These often masquerade as trustworthy web sites, but all to trick you and acquire your sensitive information.
According to security experts – despite the threats, many charities do not secure themselves properly, which obviously could result in a breach of security, loss of data or just wasted time as you try to recover the situation.
There are ways to safely store the information your charity holds, covered in this article, but what about software that can protect your PCs? The following steps will help you take precautions.
Things you’ll need. Your computers – running Windows, Apple iOS or Linux.
1. Install anti-virus software
It is the job of your anti-virus software to keep track of the latest security problems and shield you from their effects. It should detect known viruses on your computer and eliminate them. In some cases it will also stop viruses getting on to your machine.
Windows Defender is built into the latest Windows operating system, but there are also many well respected anti-virus software packages available.
Symantec and BitDefender are available at heavily discounted prices for charities from Technology Trust. AVG and Avast are free for personal use, with discounted rates for charities. They all have different strengths and weaknesses. Look at reviews and ask for up-to-date expert advice.
Clamwin is an open source free virus killer which can be used at home or in the office free of charge. If you already have anti-virus software on your computer, you should NOT install a new program before you uninstall the old one. Rather than doubling your protection, the one is very likely to treat the other as hostile and cause problems.
Many charities can set their anti-virus or spyware software to scan the internet more frequently – hourly in some cases – for new threats, or download security patches more regularly. Others set their anti-virus software to protect their web gateways, often forgotten, as well as email.
2. Keep your system up to date
If your Operating System is not updated regularly it will not be able to protect your computer from the latest security threats. Anti-virus software may not prevent this, so you must keep system files up to date too.
The Windows Update feature should be enabled by default which will work in the background to download and install updates at a suitable time when you know the computer is on, but not in use. Devices running Apple IOS and Linux have similar features. Don’t skip applying these updates when the operating system asks to download them.
Often a restart will be required for the updates to take effect. Also, allow programs or apps (such as your Office Suite) which run on your computer or device to be updated when requested.
View the remaining 4 tips here