Tax organizations urged to better protect customer information

Research from technology company Tenable indicates that cybersecurity incidents increased in 2021. According to their findings, more than 40 billion records were exposed from 1,825 data breach incidents. More than double the 730 incidents identified in 2020. Of the incidents in 2021, 236 occurred in the APAC region, leading to the exposure of some 3.5 billion records. This represents 8.6% of the global results. Issues related to ransomware and insecure cloud databases were found to be major contributors to this problem, accounting for approximately 41% of APAC breaches.

It has been found that there are both cyber threats and physical threats that could make this information vulnerable. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) recommends joining the Australian Cyber ​​Security Center (ACSC) Essential 8 guidelines. These mitigation strategies are designed to help organizations make it harder for adversaries to compromise systems.

To limit the risk of cyber threats, the ACSC recommends allowing only the latest version of operating systems to be used and ensuring that patches for vulnerabilities are made quickly. For infrastructure accessible over the Internet, they advise patching within 48 hours when an exploit exists. Using a vulnerability scanner is also on the checklist. This will help identify missing patches in operating systems and applications, although the frequency of scans depends on the maturity level of the organization.

The ATO said that physical threats such as burglaries can also expose sensitive data to criminals who could then use it to attempt tax evasion. The ACSC checklist recommends measures such as installing additional locks, surveillance cameras and alarms as ways to mitigate these risks. He also advises that previous employees’ access to systems be removed upon termination of employment and that portable devices such as laptops and cell phones connected to systems containing customer information be properly secured.

Other prescribed measures include enabling computer screens to be locked when not in use, minimizing paper documents and using a secure document destruction service when destroying sensitive documents. Tax professionals are also advised to ensure that they do not leave any documents behind when meeting clients in public places.

In the event of an incident involving the possible loss of customer data, the ATO has requested to be informed as a matter of urgency. This may result in the removal of access to ATO systems until the breach is corrected. Tax professionals are also encouraged to inform and encourage their clients to notify them if they detect any suspicious activity or communication relating to their tax or super matters.

How to reduce the impact of a cyberattack

Although they can be very effective in preventing a cyberattack in most cases, antivirus software, firewalls and IT support are not 100% effective against cybercriminals.

Standard business insurance often won’t cover you in the event of a cyberattack, and antivirus software won’t help you recoup your business expenses.

Cyber ​​Shield is a comprehensive cyber insurance solution designed to protect your accounting firm from the adverse effects of a cyber attack.

The benefits of Cyber ​​Shield:

  • Designed specifically for accounting firms, coverage is tailored to the needs of the profession.
  • Competitive premiums are a certainty.
  • Coverage is comprehensive, from data recovery to regulatory privacy defense costs, and more.

Without Cyber ​​Shield, your accounting firm could experience significant downtime and substantial expense to recover lost data and restore your client’s trust.

Would you like a non-binding quote?

Ensure that the accounting assurance team This email address is protected from spam. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out more or to receive your non-binding quote.

Alternatively, you can complete a Cybershield Application Form. Once you have answered each question and submitted the form, a member of the Professional Risk team will contact you.

Tax organizations urged to better protect customer information

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Last update: February 04, 2022

Posted: February 04, 2022