Cyber-security can be an ongoing issue for any accounting business – the reality of it is, this can happen to anyone that is using an online database.
Clients need to ensure that they can trust their accountants with their most protected information, and a breach in this can cause a major blow to an accounting firm’s reputation.
With technology constantly advancing, hackers and scams are becoming more professional and sophisticated than ever before, so it can be difficult to differentiate what is and what isn’t a scam.
Why are hackers targeting accountants?
Accountants handle a large range of clients’ personal data which can be extremely useful to hackers.
Hackers can access personal information such as:
- Financial records – which contain clients’ account numbers.
- Email addresses – this allows hackers to access bank accounts by going through the ‘forgot password’ process.
- Health records – these can let hackers commit insurance or prescription fraud.
- Personal details – this could include children’s details, place of employment and annual income. This information enables hackers to get through your security questions when gaining access to your account.
Signs that your accounting business is being hacked
Accounting professionals may be unaware that they are victims of a cybersecurity hack. Watch out for the signs of digital intrusion such as:
- Network computers running slower than usual.
- Getting locked out of your network computer.
- Cursers moving without touch, or numbers/letters being typed without touch.
Three key tips to protecting your accounting business from hackers
Once a document is online, it can be at risk of attack by a hacker looking to access your information. However, there are steps you can take to minimise this risk.
- For cloud storage, setting up two-factor identification can help improve safety. It is also recommended that sensitive, valuable information should not be emailed to clients or colleagues unless it is done through a secure emailing system.
- Never send client passwords via email. Instead, it is safer to read aloud client passwords over the phone or in-person during a meeting.
- Public Wi-Fi servers are not recommended for use to exchange sensitive information between clients, as hackers can easily tap into public data systems. If you are using public Wi-Fi, we recommend using VPN software for encryption.
For more information on cyber security, visit the Australian Government website.
If you think that your accounting business is at risk of a cybersecurity attack, reach out to our team to see how we can protect your business and your clients.