Written By Ziften CEO Charles Leaver
There are lots of business seasons each year and it is necessary that leaders of companies comprehend what those time periods mean for their for their cyber security defenses. In the retail sector the Christmas shopping season represents a spike in consumer expenditure, however it also represents a great time for cyber bad guys to attempt and steal customer data. When tax season shows up, organizations are busy preparing what is required for federal government agencies and accountancy firms and this can be a vulnerable time for cyber attacks.
Tax Season Represents An Opportunity For Cyber Criminals
With income tax returns now gone digital there is no requirement for United States citizens to mail their tax returns by the due date as all can be done using the Internet. This is certainly faster and more convenient but it can introduce security threats that organizations need to know. When there are large quantities of data on the move a golden opportunity exists for hackers to access information that belongs to the company.
There have been a variety of cyber security attacks throughout tax season before, and this has actually raised concerns that the hackers will be ready and waiting again. The latest Anthem breach has led market experts to anticipate a boost in tax fraud hacking in the future. In this breach that impacted 80 million people, there was a huge amount of personal data such as social security numbers stolen according to Kelly Phillips Erb who is a Forbes contributor.
In Connecticut, locals have been prompted by the Department of Revenue Services to submit their income tax returns early, and act ahead of the cyber lawbreakers so that their data is not discovered and their identity stolen.
Deceitful Activity Spotted By Tax Software
To make matters worse, there have been some security concerns with one of the country’s most popular tax software application brand names. USA Today revealed that TurboTax representatives discovered a boost in cyber criminality related to their software. A variety of unauthorized users had been utilizing stolen individual data to submit phony tax returns with state governments. The company took the precaution of momentarily stopping all users from filing state taxes until an examination internally was completed.
This cyber criminal offense was consequently proved to be inapplicable to the TurboTax software application, but the event shows what a challenge it is for cyber security experts to stop instances of tax fraud today. Even if the TurboTax software application was flawed, it most likely wouldn’t affect organizations much, given that they utilize accounting firms to manage their income tax returns. Accounting firms also have to do exactly what they can to prevent a cyber attack, which is why organizations must be proactive and safeguard their sensitive data.
Staying Secure At The Business Level
When it is time for large companies to prepare their tax returns they will use a great deal of accountancy personnel and the services of external companies in all likelihood to collate their financial info. When this is taking place, more attack verticals are open to cyber bad guys and they might infiltrate a company undiscovered. If they have the ability to do this then they will have access to many files relating to company files, monetary data and staff member records.
If you wish to secure your company in the coming tax season, focus on best practices of cyber security and implement protective steps that totally cover enterprise environments. Traditional tools like firewall programs and antivirus programs are an excellent place to start, but more advanced options will be needed for those cyber attacks that can occur undetected. Endpoint threat detection and response is important here, as it makes it possible for company security groups to find suspicious activity rapidly that could have gone undiscovered. If such an attack was to infiltrate the network then this could be the start of a large scale security attack.
Cyber security measures are constantly developing and try to keep pace with the methods that hackers utilize. Basic network level defenses may catch a great deal of cyber attacks but they will not be able to prevent all of the attacks. This is where high quality endpoint threat detection and response is required. It will provide visibility throughout all of the endpoints of a company, and can accurately discern between malicious activity and something spurious. This will enable security groups to better secure the data of the company.