Your accounting practice and clients are at risk for cybercriminal activity

December 8, 2021
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COVID-19 has brought an army of cyber criminals out of the woodwork, and accounting practices are one of the most targeted businesses for cyberattacks.

The 2020 Australian Cyber Security Centre’s Annual Cyber Threat Report states that phishing campaigns and malicious cyber activity have increased significantly since March of last year. Data breaches that steal your clients’ Personally Identifiable Information (PII) cost businesses around the world trillions of dollars annually, and the total cost following a data breach is now US$3.86 million on average.

The reality is that cyber attacks are part of today’s business environment. Accounting firms have access to not only their client's confidential information but also their finances and livelihoods. Stolen credentials, malware and phishing all pose serious threats and create entry points for devastating incidents.

As cyber attacks continue to grow as a threat, you need to be vigilant in protecting your client and company data against cyber attacks. Here are some of the biggest threats to look out for:

Malware: If you're receiving prompts for the installation of unknown files or applications, this is often an indication that malware has infected your system. Malware has one purpose: to damage a device or take control of a network.

Ransomware: Ransomware attacks have more than tripled in frequency over the past two years and are one of the biggest threats to businesses that house sensitive data. A successful ransomware attack can capture sensitive data, encrypt it and then block your access to it (effectively holding it 'hostage'). To retrieve the stolen data, the business will typically have to pay the attacker a 'ransom'—an often exorbitant fee.

Phishing Scams: Phishing attacks often arrive as emails (sometimes texts) and impersonate a valid institution, such as a bank. The recipient is then directed to click on a URL that sends them to a malicious website or asked to download an attachment that turns out to be malware.

This might seem relatively harmless, but in 2018 alone, 5,800 Australian businesses fell victim to phishing scams, resulting in more than $7.2 million in losses. Could your accounting firm survive such a considerable loss?

Like to know more our discuss your security posture? Click here and organise a time to catch up with Justin for a security conversation by clicking here.

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