Cyber-Attacks – What Can Happen If You Open That Spam Email!

A business accountant is working on a computer with lock symbols superimposed in the background.

Attention has been brought to our notice regarding a new wave of unique and intricate virus software (malware) circulating, thus urging all individuals to exercise utmost caution, including accountants in Sydney.

There are several different types of malware. These can be aimed at causing malicious damage, ransom demands, revenge and denial of service, phishing (trying to get personal information) and identity theft.

One of the new batches is sent as an email with the sender posing as a genuine associate or business, which may trick you into clicking a link and downloading an executable, which, when inadvertently run, will lock your files up and demand a ransom.

Commonly observed scams are often disguised under well-known brands, and some examples include Australia Post, Banks (NAB, Westpac, St George etc.), ATO and FedEx.

What action should you be taking:

  • Utilise anti-spam filters
  • Utilise antivirus and malware software where possible and ensure the definitions are as up-to-date.
  • Educate & train all your users regarding the risks.
  • Do not open any email that you are unsure about. When in doubt, call the sender of the email to confirm the email is legitimate or contact your system administrator.
  • If you receive an email from a bank or government organisation, never enter passwords or personal or banking details.
  • Avoid using hyperlinks embedded in emails instead of typing the legitimate web address directly into your applicable web browser.
  • Make sure you maintain full backups of all your data. Ensure you have a backup cycle of multiple tapes and regularly test to ensure your backups function correctly. Make sure that copies of your backups are kept offsite.

The costs, lost revenue and general impact of a cyber-attack can be significant. We recommend that you consider taking out suitable cyber protection insurance to cover any loss or claim arising from a cyber or malware attack.

*Correct as of October 2014

*Disclaimer – Kreston Stanley Williamson has produced this article to serve its clients and associates. The information contained in the article is of general comment only and is not intended to be advice on any particular matter. Before acting on any areas in this article, you must seek advice about your circumstances. Liability is limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

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