Rose Report: Issue 20

Preventing Cybercrime Before You Become a Target

issue20-pic-story4In December, Target made headlines when it revealed that cybercriminals broke into its system and stole sensitive information about millions of customers. Unfortunately, this type of crime is becoming more and more common, making it increasingly important for companies to educate themselves on this growing and very serious threat.

To help inform its members, the American Institute of CPAs recently published a whitepaper called “The Top Five Cybercrimes.” Here’s a snapshot of some of the report’s key findings.

Tax Refund Fraud
What It Is: A criminal steals a Social Security number, makes up wage and withholding information, submits a tax return electronically, and generates a large refund. The victim of the crime can either be deceased or a living taxpayer.
How To Protect Yourself: Ensure your CPA has security features, privacy policies, and internal controls that keep all of your data secure.

Corporate Account Takeover
What It Is: Cybercriminals steal a company’s banking or financial information, then use software to take over a computer remotely and steal money from the company’s bank account.
How To Protect Yourself: Small and mid-size businesses are particularly vulnerable to this type of fraud because they pay less attention to information security than larger businesses. As such, these businesses should educate themselves on the vulnerabilities of online banking—as well as the controls available to protect accounts.

Identity Theft
What It Is: A cybercriminal steals an individual’s personal information and uses it for any number of reasons—to open a line of credit, rent or buy a house, get a job, receive medical care, or even commit another type of fraud.
How To Protect Yourself: Companies should perform regular audits of their security systems thereby taking the necessary precautions to protect the personally identifiable information of their customers.

Theft of Sensitive Data
What It Is: Sensitive data can refer to anything from credit card information stored by a business to employee records to source code.
How To Protect Yourself: Companies must first realize that there are many opportunities for this type of fraud to occur. As such, they should pinpoint their vulnerabilities and create and install proper security controls.

Theft of Intellectual Property
What It Is: This type of theft applies to copyrighted materials such as music, movies, and books as well as proprietary information such as product blueprints, pricing documents, and negotiation strategies.
How To Protect Yourself: Again, experts recommend performing regular privacy and security reviews that assess a company’s level of risk.