Charities unprepared for cyber attack risk

Recently, in an encrypted chat, a spokesperson for TheDarkOverlord (TDO) commented to me how their attack on Little Red Door in Indiana is still getting media attention. Not surprisingly to me, attacking a charity that helps cancer patients seemed to generate a particularly strong emotional response among members of the pubic.  Well, that and threatening school kids and their parents, which TDO has also done.

Today, there’s a report in the Financial Times on how charities are ill-equipped to defend against cyberattacks/hacks. And sure enough, they start out by mentioning the Little Red Door attack:

In January 2017, Little Red Door, a small US healthcare charity, received an ominous email with “Cancer Sucks, But We Suck More!” as the subject line. Hackers had blocked access to the client files and financial data of the Indiana-based organisation and were demanding money for its release. Little Red Door opted not to pay the bitcoin ransom (equivalent to about $43,000), as it did not keep sensitive information, such as bank account details or social security numbers. However, it had to spend months rebuilding its client data.

Sarah Murray goes on to provide more detail about the kinds of risks and challenges small charities face online and what steps they might take. You can read the full coverage on Financial Times. But mark my words, too: The Little Red Door attack was not an anomaly for TheDarkOverlord. Being a small charity or not taking donations online does not mean you will not become a victim of theirs. And if you are lucky enough not to become a victim of theirs, you may still become a victim of other threat actors.

If I told you today that I know your charity was about to be attacked tomorrow, would you do anything differently to protect your data and assets? If so, consider yourself so informed.

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  1. JS - November 8, 2017

    Sadly, no one considers potential cyber attack, security flaw etc until way after the fact and they need to take measures to fix the mistakes.

    Perhaps the real situation is how people are unwilling to change their practices?

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