Like their for-profit counterparts, nonprofits have to contend with a growing number of threats. Foundations often handle a large amount of personally identifiable information, which make them attractive targets for cybercriminals. Organizations may also have high-profile founders, operate in remote areas, or provide politically controversial services. That can leave employees and facilities exposed to theft or violent attacks.
But unlike their peers in the corporate world, a security team at a nonprofit may have limited resources to monitor and investigate threats. That can leave details always responding to events after the fact, rather than proactivity identifying and addressing risks.
To help teams address these challenges, LifeRaft introduced Navigator. This software scans social media, deep, and dark web sources to spot threats online. This information allows teams to respond faster in emergency situations when seconds count. Or even better, put them in the position to stop threats before an incident occurs. In the context of a nonprofit, this has several applications.
1. Spot Data Breaches with Deep and Dark Web Monitoring
Cybercriminals have increasingly started to target foundations because they know these organizations handle sensitive information — financial data, health records, etc. A recent study by IBM discovered that the average direct cost of a data breach in the U.S. now tops $9.1 million per incident. And this survey didn’t take into account other indirect expenses, such as the reputational damage to an organization or lost productivity responding to a breach.
Donors have started to take the issue of privacy seriously, too. More and more, government and private benefactors have mandated new regulations for data protection. Some may halt donations to nonprofits that fail to meet their new standards.
Navigator’s deep and dark web monitoring tools allow security professionals to quickly identify the early stages of a breach. Users can scan forms where threat actors leak or sell stolen data — such as DeepPaste, Github, and chanboards. Email or desktop alerts can be sent to security personnel immediately after a leak is detected.
This intelligence can reduce the time it takes for teams to identify and respond to a breach. Personnel can then notify impacted customers or staff members while patching security protocols. And ultimately, early detection reduces the damage a data breach can inflict upon an organization’s reputation and stakeholders.
2. Protect Donors By Spotting Fraud and Fake Campaigns
Sadly, criminals won’t hesitate to exploit the goodwill of others to line their own pockets. Charity scammers ramp up their activities during the holidays — the biggest giving season each year. At LifeRaft, we’ve detected a recent spike in faux fundraising efforts surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and west coast wildfire disaster relief.
Navigator allows security teams to monitor crowdfunding sites and social media platforms for fake campaigns
But fake campaigns and scams don’t just harm victims. They can have lasting consequences for a foundation’s reputation and funding opportunities. Not to mention every dollar sent to criminals is a dollar that doesn’t go towards supporting an organization’s mission and activities.
Proactively tackling fraud can go a long way towards preventing this problem. Navigator allows security teams to monitor crowdfunding sites and social media platforms for fake campaigns impersonating their brand name. Investigation tools also give analysts the ability to research further into the people conducting these activities.
With this information on hand, foundations can quickly spot fraudsters and take appropriate measures to shut them down.
3. Monitor Global Events to Respond Faster in a Crisis
In many nonprofits, global events dictate donor funding, general public support, and the ability to operate programs. But manually monitoring across multiple regions for any number of risks, topics, and events isn’t always practical. This presents an especially big challenge for organizations that operate worldwide or in remote locations
Navigator’s Global Awareness tool aggregates and displays breaking news. By clicking on alert icons, security teams can receive annotated notes on emerging events. Users also have the ability to add preferred news feeds for an additional layer of situation awareness.
With this intelligence on hand, it’s possible to understand public sentiment, emerging issues, and violent threats in a region. That intel can be essential when developing an informed crisis response plan. And it can allow teams to dispatch aid or respond to threats faster.
4. Protect Founders and Employees with Continuous Web Monitoring
Nonprofits are not immune to the risk of violence inherent in any workplace. Employees may be operating in high-crime areas, exposed to violent individuals, or conduct politically controversial activities. High-profile founders face intimidation and threats of violence for supporting causes they believe in.
Navigator’s Query function can keep a look out for bad actors online. Security teams can flag concerning posts that contain threatening keywords like ‘kill,’ ‘shoot,’ or ‘stab.’ If a social media post contains these keywords alongside a foundation’s name, it could indicate a violent incident has already taken place. Alternatively, it could indicate someone planning an attack against the organization in question.
Online monitoring and investigations can be conducted manually. Such activities, however, are time-consuming and may require extensive training.
Navigator saves security teams countless hours in manual intelligence gathering. This allows managers to identify and respond to threats faster. And it means they can free up personnel to conduct other activities.
5. Gauge Brand Awareness with Sentiment Analysis
Brand management doesn’t just impact a nonprofit’s ability to raise funds. It also affects their ability to drive broad, long-term social goals. That’s why more foundations keep tabs on the public perception of their work and how that changes over time.
Navigator’s Sentiment Analysis can help nonprofits in this process. The software not only tallies the number of times an organization is mentioned online. It also collects this data in combination with positive and negative keywords to gauge public sentiment in real-time.
For security personnel, a sharp rise in negative public sentiment could indicate a targeted misinformation campaign. For PR and fundraising teams, sentiment analysis makes it possible to measure the public’s perception of their organization before and after a campaign. Quantifiable metrics provided by Navigator also makes it easier for these team members to gauge the effectiveness of their messaging.
The Bottomline for Nonprofits
Bottom line: Surveilling the entire web for relevant threats represents a resource-intensive process. Resources few nonprofits and foundations can spare.
Navigator, however, makes it easy for even a small team to watch millions of online sources. Additional tools allow analysts to investigate bad actors and triage alerts quickly. That reduces the chance of overlooking a critical threat. And it allows teams to respond faster to breaking events.
It’s a lot easier to address a problem before an incident takes place. Navigator helps nonprofits and foundations proactively identify threats rather than always having to react to them. And that can go a long way towards keeping people and property safe.