If you think your ‘small’ accounting firm will not be targeted by hackers, then think again. Any valuable information could be the target of hackers. As our technology becomes smarter, so do hackers and so it is important to keep ourselves cybersafe to avoid being a target.
At a recent event hosted by SAIBA (Southern African Institute for Business Accountants) the topic was cybersecurity. It was made clear that South Africa is not isolated to cyberattacks and that it is becoming more and more of a reality. It is important to keep yourself and your clients safe. In order to do this businesses must educate themselves on cybersecurity and take the necessary precautions.
Personal information is just as valuable to hackers. They could use damaging information to target CEO’s or anyone else in high-level positions to extort a pay-off. It was stated at the workshop that this kind of information is almost more valuable than card details because they could potentially ruin lives by the touch of a button.
One speaker used the analogy that one should shop for cybersecurity how they would shop for car insurance. Take care to shop for the best cover and ensure the best price. Do not waste your money on cheap cover that could leave you vulnerable.
Some of the reasons hackers could target you is for information, for money or even to stop you from accessing your money. You may think that you would not fall for the schemes hackers run but in a business setting it could seem legitimate, One of the speakers stated that the largest amount taken from one of their clients is R40 million.
Accountingtoday mentions that spearphising is used to target individuals and its made to look like requests are from trusted sources the victim may know. It may be perceived that the key targets would be larger companies but these businesses often have tight security, therefore the “softer targets”, ie. small businesses, are the ones mostly targeted.
Another reason why you should prioritise your businesses cyber security is because other businesses that trust you may be targeted through your business. Hackers may access information on your invoices and start sending out invoices of their own with their banking details to your clients.
Some tips to keep yourself safe are: Make sure to use two-factor authentication on all your accounts. You may have been told this many times, however it cannot be stressed enough. It may sometimes seem convenient, but never use the same password more than once. Know what information you should not share on social media, such as where you are or where you are going. Lastly, never give out your personal information.