Why accountants have been an easy target for cyber criminals
Beware: accountants can be caught out by hackers which costs them dearly. Image by Inbevel (via Shutterstock).
Integrity and confidentiality is something we take pride in at Peach Wilkinson Accountants. Fair dealing and a cooperative approach is another. Everything is done with precision to the nth degree, such as dealing with sensitive information. If we didn’t apply the above, our practice could be hit by cyber criminals.
Why does this matter? According to an article by Justin Dolly from Malwarebytes, accountants could be affected by data breaches. With more of our tax returns and payments being made online, any security alert could have ramifications. Not only for accountancy practices like ours, also small businesses and sole traders.
It is stated in the same report how an attack by cyber criminals could cost SME sector businesses an average of $41,000 (£33,077.85). Also observed is the fact that accountancy firms lack the advanced security procedures of banks. In spite of the fact that accountants carry similarly sensitive information as banks.
Among the other risks highlighted in the report is ransomware. This encrypts files and blocks access to your computer system. He or she has to pay the cyber criminals a given sum to retrieve their files. This is a bit like the school bully asking you for protection money, though on a grander scale online.
How to beat the cyber criminals
Raise awareness of security alerts to fellow members of staff and – where necessary – your customers;
Update your software – always remember to keep on top of your software updates;
Use a secure email client with encryption facilities;
Show discretion when choosing your passwords: make sure they are memorable yet cryptic with a mix of upper and lower case characters, symbols and numbers.