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Churches Must Be Proactive in Protecting Personal and Financial Data, Says TechSoup Global Expert

TechSoup Global Partners with Bitdefender to Help Religious Nonprofits Make Cybersecurity a Pillar for Operations in 2015

Contact: Ty Mays,
770-256-8710, tmays@inchristcommunications.com

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Jan. 22, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- On the heels of some of the nation's most devastating cyber attacks, TechSoup is urging religious and other nonprofits to be proactive in protecting personal and financial data. The organization has partnered with Bitdefender, an award-winning pioneer in security solutions, to give churches and religious organizations access to donated Internet security software for the first time.

Cyber attacks can be especially devastating to churches and ministries, resulting in a loss of contributions and reputational harm. According to industry experts, many churches and religious nonprofits have no measures in place to protect against these threats. One example is the First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham, whose records got compromised after an infection with the CryptoLocker ransomware. Ransomware attackers ask to be paid a specific amount of money — converted into a digital currency such as Bitcoin — in exchange for the decryption key that restores the files back to normal. Luckily, the church was able to restore the server manually from backup — but that took several days.

"At this time of the year, many churches and religious nonprofits are evaluating how they can meet fundraising goals and be good stewards of their finances," said Dan Webb, vice president of Technology Solutions and Services at TechSoup. "Cybersecurity is an integral part of that donor relationship. Donors put a significant amount of trust in their places of worship and the religious nonprofits they support. Churches and religious organizations cannot afford to have that trust violated. Internet security software is the first step in securing donor data — and to ensuring healthy data overall."

Bitdefender, the winner of multiple PC Magazine Editor's Choice Awards, protects churches and religious nonprofits against computer viruses, phishing, and network hacks.

"In 2015, the number of unique cybersecurity threats has surpassed the 300-million mark, growing at a steady rate of almost 40,000 new threats a day. But it's not only the sheer number of malware that poses an immediate risk to nonprofits across the United States. Some of these viruses now specialize in extorting businesses by encrypting data and then asking for money in return … for the decryption key," said Catalin Cosoi, Bitdefender's global security strategist. "We are excited to work with TechSoup to put these e-risks to a stop by bringing the best of our technologies to charities in need."

Bitdefender solutions have been given top detection awards by independent testing organizations across the world. Its new technologies combine artificial intelligence and advanced anti-ransomware defense mechanisms to make sure charities and churches across the United States can protect all of their valuable data.

Eligible organizations can receive up to 50 donated licenses each through the Bitdefender-TechSoup partnership. More details about the Bitdefender donation program are available at www.techsoup.org/bitdefender.

A number of major technology donors have expanded the eligibility rules for their TechSoup donation programs since fall of 2013. As a result, TechSoup donated more than $37 million in technology products and services to churches and religious nonprofits over the last year.

In addition to product donations, TechSoup Global provides free resources that assist nonprofits in making informed decisions about their technology needs. The organization provides free learning resources, including detailed articles and how-tos, resources and toolkits on specific technology topics, and free weekly webinars on issues of interest to nonprofits.

Churches and religious nonprofits can learn more about how to leverage Bitdefender and other donated software tools in a free webinar on Feb. 19 at 11 a.m. PST. More information about the webinar, a full list of technology donations, and detailed eligibility requirements are available at www.techsoup.org/religious-organizations.

To schedule an interview with Dan Webb, vice president of Technology Solutions and Services at TechSoup, contact Ty Mays at (770) 256-8710 or tmays@inchristcommunications.com

About TechSoup Global
TechSoup Global is an international network of 63 partner NGOs in Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. Since 1987, it has leveraged technology to build NGO capacity toward solving problems in local communities and fostering global social change. TechSoup Global's core competencies include running one of the world's biggest technology philanthropy programs; providing NGO validation services to funders and corporations; gathering, analyzing, and distributing global social-sector data; and catalyzing community-oriented technology innovations.

About Bitdefender®
Bitdefender is the creator of one of the world's fastest and most effective lines of internationally certified Internet security software. The company is an industry pioneer, introducing and developing award-winning protection since 2001.

Today, Bitdefender technology secures the digital experience of 500 million home and corporate users across the globe. 

Top international testing organizations and world-renowned software reviewers acknowledge Bitdefender as a provider of the world's most effective anti-malware solutions. In January 2014, Bitdefender won top honors from AV-TEST, becoming the first solution to win "Best Protection" and "Best Performance" simultaneously. Bitdefender has also confirmed its industry leadership status with titles including "Best Antivirus of 2014" and two Editor's Choice awards from PC Magazine, and the 2013 Editor's Choice from CNET.

For more information about Bitdefender products, visit the security press room. Bitdefender also publishes the HOTforSecurity blog, with stories from the underworld of Internet fraud, scams, and malicious software.