NGOs face tough fight against state-supported cyber attacks

NGOs face tough fight against state-supported cyber attacks

Smaller organisations are under threat from cyber attacks, and NGOs (non-government organisations) in particular are bearing the brunt, says new Munk School of  Global Affairs research.

The study asserts that activist groups and non-government organisations are not faring well when it comes to state-supported cyber crime, much of which is coming from East Asia.

The ‘Targeted Digital Threats against Civil Society’ report evaluated over 800 incredulous emails, in addition to 2,800 malware families and payloads with malicious intent.

The report came to the conclusion that the essence of cyber threats to NGOs is no different than that of IT systems in Western Governments, but that NGOs don’t possess the necessary resources to deal with the onslaught.

The research said such attacks against civil society raises major concerns for the ongoing promotion of global democracy and rights.

Citizen Lab director Prof. Ron Deibert, who was the report’s lead author, said that digital espionage ranks among the commonly known issues for government agencies and Fortune 500 firms.

He explained:

“Less well known and researched, however, are the ways in which these same type of attacks affect smaller organisations promoting human rights, freedom of speech, and access to information.”

NGOs of all levels need to be vigilant to cyber crime in this day and age, and though they may be unable to match governments when it comes to resources, they can at least ensure that they have someone in place who knows what they are doing. Reassessing their IT security recruitment policy could go some way towards ensuring that at least some resources are in place, and that they are in a position to realistically combat potential threats.

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