Ways CPAs Can Protect Against Business Losses

Whether you want to face it or not, the internet is full of terrors. Malicious software, data breaches, and cybercriminals are just a few of the online threats imperiling your business. This is true of any company using the web, including certified public accountants (CPAs).

But that is no reason to abandon hope. By raising your cyber threat awareness and adjusting a few of your online behaviors, you can dramatically improve your chances of avoiding catastrophe. If, however, you do fall prey to some hacker or digital threat, CyberPolicy's cyber insurance for CPAs can help.

Keep reading for more information.

Fighting Back the Fraudsters
It's important to understand how dire the issue of cybersecurity really is. For instance, data breaches increased 40 percent in 2016. This problem is only expected to get worse in years to come.

To combat this threat, you'll need to stay on top of the latest cybersecurity news to see what scams are being levied against your industry. One of the lucrative deceptions in play right now is the social engineering scam.

This comes in many forms. A hacker might pose as a longtime client by creating a similar (but not exact) email address and send you a message requesting a wire transfer. If you comply with the imposter's plea, you will lose your client's money and could risk damaging the relationship forever.

Do your best to spot these scams before it's too late:

  • Always verify wire transfer requests made via email by calling your contact to verbally confirm the order. Even if the email states a verbal order is unnecessary.
  • Remember to double-check the email address for misspellings or other abnormalities.
  • Add trusted contacts to your virtual Rolodex to thwart imposters.

Then again, it's not just phony clients you have to watch out for. Scammers can also pose as the IRS, your bank, family members, and more. Stay aware and stay smart.

Battling Bad Software Scams
While some cyber crooks enjoy preying upon human foibles, others go a more technological route. Malware and ransomware scams are nothing new. In fact, they've been around for decades. But that doesn't mean CPAs can let their guard down. Ransomware attacks rose 250 percent this year and are expected to balloon in the near future.

Ransomware is a form of malware that locks a device with encryption until it is released by the offending hacker, typically after some sort of payment is rendered. This can cost businesses thousands of dollars in extortion fees and downtime.

To reduce your chances of being hit with ransomware:

  • Avoid opening email attachments from sources you do not know well.
  • Steer clear of websites with excessive popup advertisements.
  • Never download anything from an untrusted source. This includes flash players, software add-ons, and more.
  • Keep your software up to date with the latest security patches.

It also helps to backup your most sensitive data onto an encrypted cloud or offline storage container. This way, you can access your files without access to your laptop or other infected devices.

Of course, the wisest decision you can make for your business is investing in cyber insurance for CPAs. Visit CyberPolicy for more information.

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