Protect Your Accounting Department From Computer Hacking and Attacks

Computer security. It is something which all business owners are concerned about, however, the majority don’t take sufficient steps to ensure that they aren’t victim to any type of malicious attack. Or worse, have their infrastructure used in an attack against somebody else.

Unfortunately, this attitude has created a very lucrative market for hackers to take advantage of, often starting with your accounting department.

Why your accounting department? Because with so many checks and balances that these staff do, opening attachments and links in emails have become second nature to them.

Here is an example.

Your check-clearing staff receives hundreds of emails each day from internal and external providers asking for checks and clearances to be the completer.
Each of these emails includes an attachment to a word or an excel document
These staff members routinely open each attachment to complete the requirements
If an attachment doesn’t open correctly or presents problems, it is closed and the staff member moves on to the next piece of work with no remarks noted.
Your company goes about its business

Seems innocent enough. However, let’s make one small addition.

Your check-clearing staff receives hundreds of emails each day from internal and external providers asking for checks and clearances to be completed.
Each of these emails includes an attachment to a word or an excel document
A hacker sends an email to your bookkeeping staff impersonating as associated office requesting a clearance to be completed
These staff members routinely open each attachment to complete the requirements
If an attachment doesn’t open correctly or presents problems, it is closed and the staff member moves on to the next piece of work with no remarks noted.
Your company goes about its business

In the second example, your staff member has unknowingly installed a piece of malicious code which allows for a hacker to not only take control of the machine used to open the email, but also access other computers on your accounting network and access these also.

It is literally as simple as that. Opening a malicious email is all it takes for a company to become infected with a virus or malware which seeks to disturb the smooth operation of your business. Often refusing to stop unless a price is paid to the sender.

Before you run down to your accounting department and tell them to stop opening emails, it’s important to know that there are other ways to go about protecting your infrastructure and your business.

For example.

  • Educating your staff to pay attention to details such as email addresses, strange requests, spelling mistakes, and grammar mistakes is the best defense against these types of emails.
  • Installing email scanning software like the types available from the IT section of the Groupon Coupons page for Walmart which can provide real-time protection against these threats is a great secondary measure and can drastically reduce the risk of computer infection.
  • Look through your processes and procedures and see where you can identify any places where a hacker with malicious intent could access your workflow. For example, consider moving any unencrypted communications to a safer platform.

When it comes to protecting your business, starting with the department that protects your money is the best way to go.…

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