For consumers, recent news stories are frightening—and increasingly familiar:
- A massive data breach involving the credit reporting agency Equifax exposed millions of Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, names, and dates of birth.
- The web service provider Yahoo acknowledged that a data breach touched 3 billion of its accounts—three times as many as originally revealed.
Not long before the Equifax and Yahoo headlines, national retailers such as Target and Home Depot suffered major data breaches that involved millions of stolen credit card numbers.
On top of this, consider these insights from The Kiplinger Letter:
Demand for cyber insurance is zooming as the number of cyberattacks rises. Cyber policies cover financial losses from a range of attacks, from data theft to digital extortion. The average total cost for a data breach was more than $7 million in 2017. The rising financial toll is prompting more companies to purchase policies. . . . Look for the global cyber insurance market to hit $20 billion by 2028, up from $2.5 billion today.
Experts warn that large national companies are not solely susceptible. Smaller organizations—including churches—increasingly fall victim to cybercrimes and other online mishaps.
Churches at Risk
Most congregations handle rising volumes of sensitive personal data about staff, volunteers, and members—from payment information tied to e-tithing to Social Security numbers obtained to run background checks.
And the types of threats targeting that sensitive information continue to increase.