Many accounting firms claim that IT providers and companies hurried to give remote employee access without fully comprehending how to do so safely and securely. As a result, the number of cyberattacks on accounting firms of all sizes has skyrocketed. Cyberattacks have increased by 300 percent as a result of the growing remote workforce and the ongoing COVID pandemic.
Accessing a network, erasing backups, and encrypting data is becoming more typical as hackers get more adept in their strategies for obtaining important data from CPA businesses. In addition to the conventional ransomware attack, thieves have threatened to publish material obtained from the practice if you do not pay their ransom demands. Most threat actors have turned to this tactic as a way to almost assure that a company will pay the ransom to regain access to its data.
Threat actors often perform surveillance after penetrating the practice’s network to learn about the kind of programs running and the placement of data and backups. Credential harvesting software is frequently used to capture usernames and passwords from devices and applications, which they then utilize to further abuse the system.
Hackers will attempt to migrate laterally via the network to obtain access to more devices while conducting surveillance. Threat actors have been known to use various screen-sharing applications on a network to acquire remote access in the event that the IT department attempts to shut them out.
Common Cyber Threats
- Email Security – For most businesses, email poses the greatest security risk. According to Digital Guardian, phishing emails are the leading cause of cyber attacks, accounting for 91% of all attacks. Phishing is when someone sends an email that appears to be real, appears to be from a contact, and requests personal information. The majority of individuals will open an email from a known sender without checking the email address. Unauthorized access to your email must be prevented. Turning on two-factor authentication, which major email providers like Gmail, Microsoft Office 365, AOL, and Yahoo provide, is one way to do this.
- Internet Security – Another common cyber attack approach is drive-by browser downloads. Searching the internet can lead you to infected websites that can infect your network with viruses and malware. Install all of the current security fixes on your machines and servers to avoid this type of attack. To prevent the virus from entering your private network, set up a firewall router with gateway antivirus, gateway anti-malware, and intrusion prevention. This level of protection is not available on routers provided by your Internet Service Provider. While these may be adequate for your home, they are not appropriate for a business.
- Data Security – The use of a USB drive to transport data is not secure. The USB disk should have built-in encryption and require a password to access. When a password is typed incorrectly too many times, most programs will automatically destroy it. Make use of one that has this feature.
- Wireless Security – Your network’s wireless access has to be secured. Of course, passwords should be used, but a guest network should be set up for visitors who require internet access. This disables guest user access to your network’s computers and resources. This is especially important if one of the guest’s laptops or gadgets is contaminated.