Just this year alone, there have been ceaseless pleas from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) imploring tax preparation firms to enhance their cybersecurity activities. Obviously, this is coming on the heels of an increased rate of cyber attacks on certified public accountants (CPAs) which are commonly perpetrated by identity thieves and hackers. These attacks are mostly aimed at stealing large amounts of sensitive personal and financial data on taxpayers.
Some of these crooks make use of Web-based keyloggers to record keystrokes typed on the victim’s PC and occasionally upload screenshots of every stage of the process as displayed on the victim’s computer screen. Viewing the results of these keyloggers can be quiet disturbing especially if you’ve never witnessed how they operate. These harmful programs are known to function very effectively, despite exhibiting a “not-so-sophisticated” look.
The malware is designed to capture every typing activity performed on the target’s machine and grab any data submitted into Web-based forms by the victim. While search engines are trying so hard to protect sites from data scraping, hackers are using such sites to upload victim information they lay hands on. Interestingly, all harvested data (stolen information) can be viewed on the site as it doesn’t require any form of authentication.
There are several simple techniques hackers are employing to not only target but also compromise average CPAs, considering how frequently they must need access Microsoft Office and other files submitted via email by potential clients. To this end, there is the need for accountants to maintain efficient tech support in West Palm Beach. There’ve been are several cases of victims who falling prey to the wiles of these crooks by simply clicking on a booby-trapped link or email attachment.
It’s important to know that a victim CPA would find it difficult to effectively conceal this new type of identity theft that has been recently revealed by the IRS. Lately, there seems to be an increasing number of identity thieves targeting several tax operation firms and using hacked data obtained from online accounts to file phony refund requests. Basically, these are crooks that specialize in tax refund fraud. They pose as a collection agency that requests money refunds after the return has been processed by the IRS and deposited into clients’ bank accounts.
There is the need for CPAs to step up their tech support in West Palm Beach and consider managing their client’s data with something other than Microsoft Windows. This doesn’t mean that Mac or Linux-based systems cannot be compromised. But it’s important to understand that, as it stands, Windows computers are the most vulnerable to malicious attacks because a vast majority of these programs are targeted toward them.
Tax professionals must try as much as possible to ensure that their security systems are not compromised so as to be able to prevent digital intruders from accessing and stealing clients’ data.