Cyber hacking, phishing, spear phishing, ransom, smishing, vishing, you name it, it all continues to keep rolling out and evolving to stay one step ahead. We are talking big money, trillions with a "T" are being lost annually to hackers. Accountants are big targets, no matter how big or small your firm might be. Hackers are always getting more savvy and sophisticated, making them a ceaseless threat. Here are a couple of examples of tactics hackers use and the things you should do to prevent them:
1. When receiving an email, make sure you were expecting it. Hover over any links before clicking on them to see the extensions and if it looks suspicious, do not click the link. If unsure, go directly to the website of the company sending the email. Do this for virtual meetings as well. As opposed to clicking on the join now link, copy the password and go straight to the virtual meeting website and access the meeting there.
2. Take special precaution when clicking on unsubscribe links on emails you no longer want to receive. Unsubscribe links are currently a popular tool that hackers are using to gaining access to computers or locking them down with ransomware.
3. If you receive a request via text message, email, or both from your client, a bank, or vendor for transfers of funds, especially if urgent, call the client, banker, or vendor directly from a known number not within the text or email, before complying.
4. Never install a USB drive that you have found into a company thumb drive.
5. Always stop and think before taking action with regards to any emails or texts. Pay attention to the red flags such as the following:
- Time the email or text is being sent to you
- The sender's email address
- The urgency of the text message or email
- Weblinks included in the email (always hover over links first)
- Just because you have anti-virus software installed, it does not mean the attachment is not malware or ransomware. If the attachment looks suspicious, contact the sender independently of the email or text message to verify its validity.
It is also vital to train your staff to be suspicious as well and to stop and think before proceeding. Nobody is hack-proof, not even the CIA. Your best safety net would be to insure the risk. Call us, and we will help you determine the best coverage to protect your firm.