Charities can apply for free cyber security assessments

De Montfort University in Leicester is making the offer to organisations with fewer than 50 employees

Charities are being offered free cyber security assessments amid concerns that half of all small organisations are falling victim to cyber crime every year.

Researchers from De Montfort University in Leicester are offering the free hour-long cyber health check, which will review charities’ existing cyber security policies and provide advice on how they could be improved.

The health check is part of a study to improve cyber security among small businesses and charities, and will require charities to fill in a survey on their approaches, perceptions and attitudes to online risks.

The study is open only to organisations with fewer than 50 employees, and researchers are looking for about 160 participants.

Only 41 per cent of small organisations follow government advice on cyber security, and 50 per cent fall victim to cyber attacks every year, according to Edward Cartwright, professor of economics at De Montfort University.

Cartwright said: "Small businesses and charities often don’t have the resources or don’t prioritise cyber security so they can be quite vulnerable to being attacked. It’s a question of when rather than if.

"This is a big problem and, if we can solve it, that would be a huge breakthrough. It is a problem that is only going to get worse because businesses are ever more reliant on cyberspace and the criminals are getting more sophisticated."

Partners on the project include Coventry University, the University of Kent and Kent Police, and £43,000 of funding has been provided by the Home Office.

Charities interested in signing up for a health check can do so by emailing or through the sign-up page.

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