Bullying isn’t limited to the schoolyard these days. If you use accounting software for nonprofits, you must be prepared for yet another type of bullying: cyber attacks such as phishing scams and ransomware that can stop your nonprofit organization from functioning.
Don’t stress! Safeguarding your #AbilaMIP or #AccuFund system is easy. Get the answers you’re looking for, contact RBP Methods online or call us at (503) 641-9058.
Cyber Attacks that Affect Nonprofits
There are many types of cyber attacks that can compromise your network, accounting software, and other critical software.
Phishing scams are perhaps the most familiar. These scams include emails that appear to be from known entities, such as your accounting software for nonprofits vendor, or from others like a bank, social media site or another familiar company. They seek to capture your user name and password so that they can be resold or used for criminal activity.
Viruses infect computers through loopholes in software. They enter when people click on a suspicious link or through browsing an infected website. Once on a host computer, they spread to others or cause damage to the infected computer.
Ransomware is a type of virus that encrypts or locks a computer until a ransom payment is made to the person who created the virus. Then the unlock key is used to return control of your computer – or not. Sometimes, criminals pocket the money and leave. Ransomware can completely ruin a computer, and even computers cleaned of ransomware may not function as they did before infection.
Given these and the many other types of viruses, worms, Trojans and other harmful code that’s out there, how can nonprofits protect themselves? And why should they be concerned?
The Cost of Computer Attacks
Web-based attacks can cost companies $96,000 or more to fix, according to a report on CSO, a website for Chief Security Officers. That’s a lot of money that could be spent fulfilling your mission rather than fixing computers.
Nonprofits may actually be even more vulnerable to attack than for-profit companies. Because nonprofits are often staffed by volunteers, they may have inadequate resources to deal with outright attacks. They may have people answering emails who aren’t trained to recognize phishing attacks. All of this can lead to the perfect storm of vulnerability that leads to problems.
Much of what we’ve discussed so far can be prevented by simple, common sense steps. These include:
- Slowing down enough to question any requests for money, passwords, or login credentials. If the request appears to come from someone you know, call (rather than email) them for confirmation if you are uncertain.
- Never click a link in an email to reset passwords unless you initiated the reset request yourself, as in the case for a forgotten password. Instead, close your email out, and open a separate browser to check the site in question.
- Keep software updated to prevent loopholes exploited by viruses and hackers.
- Install security on your system to recognize unsafe websites while surfing the web, scan emails for viruses, and more.
- Use off-system storage for backups so that if computers become infected, backup data remains completely detached and quarantined.
- Create contingency plans in case the worst happens. How will you deal with a cyber attack while it is underway? How will you fix problems?
Accounting software for nonprofits contains a great deal of information that’s of particular interest to hackers. Not only does it contain all of the financial data for your nonprofit, but it may also contain credit card information, passwords and more from donors. This would be disastrous to lose! Keep it safe by putting into place steps to prevent cyber crimes.
RBP Methods helps right-brained people navigate a left-brained world. We offer nonprofit software and consulting services including Abila, AccuFund and more. We’d love to talk to you about your online fundraising or other needs, and we hope to see you at the forthcoming webinar. Contact us today or call 503-648-9051.