Cybercriminals stop at nothing

You’d think cybercriminals would hesitate before attacking organizations that care for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable – non-government organizations (NGOs,) humanitarian groups and healthcare institutions. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Cybercriminals know NGOs distribute billions in aid each year, and hold sensitive client and donor information. This makes them an attractive target.

With many people around the world relying on these vital organizations for food, work and education, a cyberattack can cost lives. CyberPeace Institute is out to protect those lives with creative ways to help NGOs protect themselves.

Mutual benefit from cyber help

Klara Jordan, Chief Public Policy Officer at CyberPeace Institute, says, “The not-for-profit sector, NGOs and healthcare institutions are under-resourced and under-equipped to deal with cyberthreats. The biggest risk is that an NGO will have to close.”

Stéphane Duguin, Chief Executive Officer, says cybercriminals often attack NGOs. “One in two NGOs have had a cyberattack, but four in five don’t have a cybersecurity plan.”

Data breaches are a particular risk because of the sensitive data NGOs and healthcare institutions hold. “NGOs need trust to operate. Without it, they can lose access to resources. If they can’t protect themselves from a cyberattack, they lose donors’ and funders’ trust,” says Jordan.

Founded in 2019, CyberPeace Institute has a unique way to help NGOs reduce their cyber risk. “Our program, CyberPeace Builders, means NGOs can get help from the private sector,” says Duguin. “Corporations want to exercise corporate social responsibility in cyberspace. We make sure their goodwill finds the right fit with NGOs in need.”

Asking world leaders to act

CyberPeace Institute is also concerned governments aren’t doing enough to fight cybercrime. Cybercrime gangs act with impunity from countries that shield them from prosecution and leaders don’t always have the political will to hold them accountable.

In May 2020, the Institute published a call to governments worldwide, demanding immediate action to stop cyberattacks on healthcare. They asked world leaders to work together to protect the critical sector.

Jordan believes secure technology can bring enormous benefits to all. “CyberPeace means the infrastructure we rely on is safe, secure and trustworthy. Then, we can benefit from these technologies without being endangered by using them. We can only unlock technology’s potential if it’s safe, secure and stable.”

Are world leaders doing enough to fight cybercrime?