Cybercriminals are sometimes imagined as lone masked bandits behind a laptop, but that image would be more creative than factual. While there are individual hackers out there looking to score a big payout, data theft has evolved into an organized, multibillion-dollar industry. These criminal organizations have large HR departments that provide competitive pay in hopes of attracting the most intelligent minds.
On the hunt for vulnerabilities, cybercriminals are looking for the weak links in your church – untrained, click-happy people. Their tactics range from hacking weak passwords to creating copycat emails that look genuine, among other schemes. Data thieves are consistently inventing new ways to prey on your trust and trick you into a click. You can learn, in detail, other tactics cybercriminals use against churches in AGFinancial Insurance Solutions’ Cybersecurity for Churches video here.
As the concern for data privacy grows, churches are learning how to create cyber-secure environments by doing these four things:
1) Develop a "security-first" culture.
A culture of "security first" begins with education. Providing church staff and leadership with monthly cybersecurity training communicates that the responsibility to protect the church's data belongs to everyone. Education is one of the easiest ways to mitigate risk.
2) Use passphrases, not passwords.
Passwords are one of the more common ways cybercriminals gain access to systems and personal data. Using passphrases – phrases that are over 25 characters long, including spaces (if your system allows), creates a complex barrier that a single password doesn't. Routinely changing that passphrase is ideal, as well as creating unique passphrases for each login.
3) Create "air-gaps" between you and your stored data.
It's a best practice to back up your data, but when it comes to storing that backup, creating gaps between you and that data can help improve security. An "air-gap" is produced by storing backups on a device that's not connected to the network or by uploading it to a cloud storage system.
4) Speak with the experts.
Seeking out cybersecurity professionals who can help strengthen the security of your data is a smart step to safeguarding your data. It's also important to find a knowledgeable insurance agent that can discuss the ins and outs of cyber liability coverage and how it can benefit your church or organization. Listen to Jerry Sparks speak specifically on cyber liability and how it can help churches here.
To gain detailed insight on cybersecurity, watch AGFinancial Insurance Solutions' full video on Cybersecurity for Churches.