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Do you work for a non-profit? Or maybe you’re on the board of a charity or active in a professional or service organization in your community. If so, you know the group collects all sorts of private information, including details about members or people you serve and financial information related to donors. Your own personal information, too, is probably in the group’s records of employees and volunteers. Cyber criminals would love to get their hands on that data. You can help protect the organization by implementing the same common-sense principles that security-centric executives are using at businesses across the country. And a good source for to-the-point advice is at FTC.gov/Cybersecurity.

At FTC.gov/Cybersecurity you’ll find resources on 12 different topics, including cyber scams like ransomware and phishing, key considerations like physical security and vendor security, and technical guidance on things like email authentication. The new materials reflect the FTC’s experience in the area of data security, privacy protection, and scam prevention, and also reflect the know-how of the SBA, NIST, and Department of Homeland Security. The resources are designed for small businesses, but the same tips and information apply to charities and other non-profits.

The bedrock principle is that if any group – including non-profits – collects information about people, they should protect it. Imagine if donors’ credit cards are exposed because of a phishing scheme, or if the network gets blocked by a ransomware attack. That can be devastating not just for the organization and leaders like you, but also for the communities that rely on the group’s services. To help protect the organization’s network and data, make cybersecurity part of the everyday routine.

You can start with these basic cybersecurity tips:

  • Use security software and set it to update automatically.
  • Back up important files offline, on an external drive or in the cloud.
  • Encourage the organization to have policies covering basic cybersecurity and to train employees and volunteers on those policies.
  • Visit www.FTC.gov/Cybersecurity and share the fact sheet, quizzes and videos with your colleagues.

4 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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Jun kuai
November 12, 2018
My phone was monitored, listened to, recorded, and even opened corporate accounts with my identity and w-fi! I don't know how to fix it
FTC Staff
November 13, 2018

In reply to by Jun kuai

You can report identity theft at IdentityTheft.gov. You can describe what happened, create a report to law enforcement, and get letters and forms to send to businesses where your identity was mis-used.

Rosemarie Domingo
December 11, 2018
My non-profit that I established just last year, was breached and it's using ATT accounts to monitored my contacts and voicemail, which I have no access.
FTC Staff
December 12, 2018

In reply to by Rosemarie Domingo

The FTC has cybersecurity help for small businesses and non-profits. Read more about hiring a web host

that offers services to help you protect information on your website. Look at how people connect to your network. Do you have secure remote access? Know that if you use public wi-fi, you do not have a secure internet connection.

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