There is a rising prevalence of cyber based criminal activity, and this risk is growing rapidly. Therefore, it will be increasingly important for churches, charities, and other non-profit organizations to keep an eye on the growth of cyber based criminal activity.
The quality of your organization depends on how reliant your ministry is on email, online banking, social media platforms, apps, and other software programs for its day-to-day operations. Now that churches have been made aware of the threat of cyber-crime, it is time for them to put that threat in the spotlight, be aware of the dangers, and make an effort to avoid getting victimized by it.
While private companies, public institutions, and even charitable organizations are prone to a larger amount of financial theft, religious organizations, nonprofits, and even other businesses tend to have fewer resources, which makes them more susceptible to attacks.
This, together with older systems that have not been regularly maintained, a large number of volunteer staff that may not be fully trained in information and data security processes, the use of free software programs or cheap web hosting, and a dearth of ample training to secure data and fend off cyber-attacks, makes the situation ripe for the plucking.
Cyber Security and Possible Threats
Network security involves using deceit to subvert individuals into delivering private or confidential information that may be used for malicious reasons. A good example is when a person receives a phishing email that appears to be a normal email You should on the growth of cyber based criminal activity but is actually a scam meant to trick the recipient into providing sensitive information or completing tasks by deceptive means.
The exploit could take advantage of any of the following: a malvertising attack, a click on a malicious link or attachment, or a redirection to a fake website where you have to update your details and provide a password. To all who follow us, on a regular basis, the email will look like it is from a legitimate sender.
The Big Need for Cyber Security Insurance
There is no question that cybersecurity appropriately sits at the forefront of the news today and is of tremendous concern for leaders in every sort of organization, from ministries to churches to corporations to nonprofits. Keep an on eye cyber based criminal activity.
While this concept may be daunting to many, unfortunately, too many churches are lacking in a comprehensive security strategy to protect themselves from attackers who may be eager to do them harm.
Because of the current security environment, good stewardship and responsibility necessitate those churches to put in place robust cybersecurity measures, policies, and training. There are some key similarities between implementing a successful cybersecurity strategy and buying insurance. While you may not always be happy to pay the premiums, you will have a relief that you are protected when you really need it and away from cyber based criminals. In plain terms, comprehensive security initiatives are a “top choice” in any ministry environment that uses technology.
Five Crucial Steps to Make Your Church Cybersecure
1. Performing Checks and Up to Date Training
Always be keeping an eye on everything. It is important to keep conducting tests that are continuous and active, since this will let you realize when anything is incorrect. Comparable to keeping a vehicle in good running order, it is necessary to do frequent check-ups to ensure your surroundings remain current. You find out something is wrong with your engine while you are on the highway and have a breakdown. This is very inconvenient and even hazardous.
To avoid issues, you should deal with the problem when you have the time to. You should do your oil change when you have time, since then you can get the problem corrected right away. Other situations may be analogous to this one: Before issues develop, frequent vulnerability scans may uncover potential gaps and correct them before they turn into catastrophes.
A staff member and a member of the congregation are your church’s first line of defense, but they are also the church’s most susceptible link in the cybersecurity chain! As long as attackers understand this, they relish the ability to make victims feel terror and panic in order to persuade them to willingly surrender their identities and sensitive information.
Ensure your team members know when what, or where they might become a security concern, as well as teaching them to spot and prevent such harmful scenarios, such as ransomware, phishing, and so on. Cybercriminals are always looking over their shoulder. They expect that anything less than a continual training and testing regimen would leave the church vulnerable to assault.
2. Two Factor Authentication and Benefits
Failing to follow through on policies outlined in other government ministries may not have a major effect, but it is utterly catastrophic in the cybersecurity context. It is possible to do anything that may result in unanticipated, yet severe damage using only one method or workaround. As consumers’ data becomes more vulnerable, forcing all devices accessing that data to adopt fundamental security measures, such device encryption and passcodes/PINs, will help increase their protection.
Additionally, multi-factor authentication requires users to be careful about the security of their passwords to help protect your systems from being accessed by those who have stolen them. In the end, we encourage the adoption of a password manager that can assist users not only in creating unique, complicated passwords effortlessly, but that also helps to enforce password standards and regulations.
3. Secure Firewalls and WIFI
The requirement of basic firewalls has been well established for many years. Contemporary firewall solutions include several UTM functions, including as secure communications, gateway anti-virus, geo-IP filtering, inappropriate content screening, and more. A simple firewall does not provide enough protection on its own, therefore you must use these additional features if you want your system to be really secure. Thus, as with other types of networking, it is essential that existing devices and users within your firewall utilize Wi-Fi securely and safely. To do this, it is imperative that you configure and secure your wired and wireless networks to correctly segment/isolate network data, and that you use the strongest possible Wi-Fi encryption for sensitive information.
4. Ethics and Tools
All the traffic that passes across your network and every keystroke you make on your computer, as well as all of the websites you visit and the programs you use, are all traceable. In order to comply with several HIPAA and NIST standards, it is often necessary to aggregate and analyses all system-level log files.
The obligation imposed by this criterion is that you must compile and permanently store all log data collected from your firewall, network switches, servers, and even individual user workstations in an off-device location, and in an immutable manner. In order to save that data, maintaining the storage is difficult, but with the information found in these logs, it is possible to uncover critical security holes in your environment.
These security technologies were built to facilitate the aggregation of all this log data. In addition to allowing the user to discover suspicious activity in the data, the tools aid in the evaluation and analysis of the data. If you want to find anything specific in these records, searching for a needle in a haystack is more apt.
Using a SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) provider to help aggregate, filter, and flag abnormal behavior may give a valuable ‘second pair of eyes’ on the network health of your environment. You will get alerts from SIEM providers, telling you to examine things. They know they have a clear edge over other security professionals, as they can observe the same behavior in other client situations as well.
Because of this, they can be more accurate in identifying what seems secure and what seems suspect. If you choose this option, you will only be focused on the questionable things you discover throughout your investigation.
5. Ensure Your Safety
Cyber insurance, also referred to as cyber risk insurance or cyber liability insurance, is a highly specialized insurance product designed to help an organization mitigate risk exposure by offsetting the associated costs with restoration after such a computer crimes data breach or similar incident such as spyware, malicious software, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, or any other strategy used to make concessions a network and sensitive data.
These insurance plans are specifically intended to deal with high-loss situations. When churches have increasingly come to handle personal and financial data of members, it is advisable for church administrators or leaders to speak with their insurance broker or carrier to ensure that coverage levels are suitable for the risks that they are facing.
Some Additional Help
You should encrypt any sensitive church information, such as the contents of computers. Due to the mobility of mobile devices, they are subject to theft. The difficulties involved in cracking a security measure only arise after someone has already acquired physical access to gadgets.
Consider very seriously for all mobile devices, encryption of your data should be applied. Smaller churches have a wide range of alternatives accessible to them. Both free-of-charge and premium software are included in this list. Do a comprehensive evaluation of each program to determine which best fits your church.
Always use strong passwords and update them regularly if you utilize a wireless network. Also, any member of your network, such as a neighbor, may obtain access to your machines if they have been given network access cyber crime is a criminal activity that either targets or uses a computer. The congregation should have its own guest network while the church network should include a business network for the church PCs. This must be done in order to separate the two networks.
Patching and Care
There is one of the greatest things you can do to keep your IT environment safe and healthy and is to remain current with software and firmware updates. Do not ignore update alerts since they are there for a purpose! Even the most thorough of cyber security upgrades and security patches are not perfect; in fact, these developments allow networks to remain secure by enabling existing security solutions to continue to protect the network.
Data Dump and Mistakes to Avoid
Users go about their daily work by signing up for numerous online services and tools in the regular course of business. But what happens when cyber thieves compromise these internet services and steal the staff’s email addresses, as well as their passwords? While password sharing has reduced somewhat, many people still use the same password for all of their online accounts.
As a result, once a hacker has obtained the password to one system, he may be able to use the same password to gain access to other systems, such as email accounts. You may set up email address alerts so that when your address is discovered online on the Dark Web, you will be notified. This notice is quite effective, allowing you to instantly tell all the users who may be impacted by a security breach, and also urges them to change their passwords on the compromised websites.
Also, you may tell them to make sure they are not using the same password on various websites. However, if it is confirmed that they have used the same password across numerous websites, this notice offers them an opportunity to alter their password everywhere promptly.
Cybersecurity is a major problem in the digital era, and that worry is developing quickly. There are several ways that cybercriminals take advantage of our increasingly connected environment. In doing so, they hunt for new avenues to make money off of your information. The threat of data breaches and digital assaults is on the increase, which poses major dangers to your firm.
Now more than ever, it is vital for you to have a clear understanding of cybersecurity and the variety of threats that are involved. This includes anything from social engineering to data and identity theft to many other things.
Both organizational leaders, employees, and volunteers all have a responsibility to play in encouraging, adopting, and enforcing digital behaviors that are safe. It is imperative that you remember to Stay Educated, and Act Quickly.
This article is a brief summary of all the possible risks and actions involved and what measures can be taken about them. Stay safe and cautious