Charities Falling Victim To Cybercrime

IT people at charity organisations are growing concerned that their computer systems are out of date and less secure than they need to be. One of the US best-known charities says it was the victim of a cyber scam last year that cost the company $1 million.

Save the Children Federation, which conducts charity operations in countries across the world, told the Boston Globe that hackers gained entry into an employee's email account. 

The hackers then used fake invoices and other means to fraudulently direct about $1 million to a fraudulent entity based in Japan. By the time the attack was discovered, it was reportedly too late to stop the money transfer, disguised as payments for solar panels to be installed on health centers in Pakistan.

The organisation reported that in the months following the attack, Save the Children managed to recoup all but $112,000 of the losses through insurance claims, and has since adopted practices to guard against such scams and hacking attempts.

“We have improved our security measures to help ensure this does not happen again,” the group's said CFO Stacy Brandom. “Fortunately, through insurance, we were ultimately reimbursed for most of the funds.”

A separate hacking attack resulted in the charity mistakenly sending $9,210 to hackers after one of the charity's vendors was the victim of a cyberattack. That money was also recouped via insurance claims. 

Cyberattacks have become commonplace in the US, with a Gallup poll released this week finding that one in four Americans have been affected by a cyber-attack in some way. Americans are now nearly 10 percentage points more likely to be affected by cybercrime than by physical theft of property, according to Gallup.

The Hill:     Boston Globe:       Image: Nick Youngson

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