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MYP | How to Protect a CPA Firm...
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Jason L. Ackerman, CPA, CFP, CGMA
Three years ago, the server at the author's firm was hacked by a Russian scammer who got into the system by sending a phishing email that a team member clicked on. The worm in the email encrypted every Microsoft Word and Excel file in the system with a password; the firm had to pay a ransom in Bitcoin in order to decrypt the files. Worse, the files were not backed up properly (the firm thought they were backed up on a second offsite server, but this turned out not to be the case). After this attack, which costs thousands of dollars in productivity and time, the firm decided to revamp the entire security system to make sure this didn't happen again. All documents from the server were moved onto Box.com, a cloud document storage system that automatically backs up all documents in multiple locations. In addition, the firm changed email servers to Google Apps for Business, now called G-Suite, to make sure all emails were backed up properly. It took a real attack for the firm to wake up to the severity, cost, and importance of cybersecurity. And really, the attack could have been much worse; only internal Word and Excel documents were compromised, not anything with clients' personal data.
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