Defend Yourself Against Cyber Attacks This Tax Season – Chuck Leaver

Written By Ziften CEO Chuck Leaver

 

There are many business seasons each year and it is very important that leaders of companies comprehend exactly what those time periods indicate for their for their cyber security defenses. In the retail sector the Christmas shopping season represents a spike in consumer spending, but it also represents a great time for cyber crooks to try and steal consumer data. When tax season arrives, companies are hectic preparing everything for government agencies and accountancy companies and this can be a vulnerable period for cyber attacks.

Tax Season Represents A Chance For Cyber Criminals

With tax returns now gone digital there is no need for United States residents to mail their income tax returns by the due date as everything can be done using the Internet. This is definitely much faster and more convenient but it can present security risks that organizations must understand. When there are significant amounts of data being transferred a golden opportunity exists for hackers to access details that is owned by the company.

There have actually been a number of cyber security attacks throughout tax season in the past, and this has raised issues that the hackers will be ready and waiting once again. The recent Anthem breach has actually led industry specialists to anticipate a boost in tax fraud hacking in the future. In this breach that affected 80 million people, there was a massive quantity of personal data such as social security numbers stolen according to Kelly Phillips Erb who is a Forbes contributor.

In Connecticut, citizens have been urged by the Department of Revenue Services to submit their tax returns early, and act ahead of the cyber criminals so that their data is not discovered and their identity taken.

Deceitful Activity Discovered By Tax Software

To make matters worse, there have actually been some security interest in one of the nation’s most popular tax software brand names. U.S.A Today exposed that TurboTax officials discovered an increase in cyber criminality related to their software. A number of unapproved users had actually been using stolen personal data to submit fake tax returns with state governments. The business took the safety measure of briefly stopping all users from filing state taxes until an examination internally was completed.

This cyber criminal offense was consequently shown to be inapplicable to the TurboTax software, however the event reveals what a challenge it is for cyber security specialists to stop instances of tax scams today. Even if the TurboTax software was flawed, it probably would not impact organizations much, since they use accounting firms to manage their income tax returns. Accounting companies likewise need to do what they can to prevent a cyber attack, which is why organizations must be proactive and secure their sensitive data.

Staying Protected At The Enterprise Level

When it is time for big companies to prepare their income tax returns they will use a great deal of accountancy workers and the services of external businesses in all likelihood to sort out their financial info. When this is occurring, more attack verticals are open to cyber lawbreakers and they could infiltrate a company undiscovered. If they have the ability to do this then they will have access to many files associated with business documents, financial data and employee records.

If you wish to safeguard your organization in the coming tax season, focus on best practices of cyber security and enact defensive procedures that totally cover business environments. Standard tools like firewalls and anti-viruses programs are an excellent place to start, however more sophisticated options will be required for those cyber attacks that can occur undetected. Endpoint threat detection and response is vital here, as it enables organization security teams to find suspicious activity rapidly that might have gone undiscovered. If such an attack was to penetrate the network then this could be the start of a large scale security infiltration.

Cyber security measures are continually evolving and attempt to keep pace with the strategies that hackers employ. Basic network level defenses may capture a great deal of cyber attacks but they will not be able to avoid all of the attacks. This is where high quality endpoint threat detection and response is required. It will provide visibility across all of the endpoints of an organization, and can properly discern between malicious activity and something spurious. This will make it possible for security teams to better protect the data of the company.