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Protect your Business from Remote Access Takeover Attacks by Joseph L. Saka CPA/PFS

Posted on November 07, 2017 by Joseph Saka

The wireless networks, cell phones, routers, printers and other electronics that businesses and their employees regularly use in the office setting could be the weak link to allowing hackers to take over an organization’s entire digital network.  According to the IRS, remote access takeover attacks are on the rise, putting businesses and their data at risk of exposure into criminal hands.

A remote attack exploits weaknesses in a network, device or application’s security settings to allow cybercriminals to secretly infiltrate an organization and take control of its computers and other devices.  For example, it is not uncommon for businesses to use the factory-issued password settings for their digital devices or to remove all protections entirely.  When this occurs, and businesses fail to change the password on a device, cyber crooks can more easily identify the location of and gain access to unprotected devices and all of the data stored in them.

Another way that hackers gain control of businesses’ computers and other devices is through the use of phishing emails that contain attachments or links to malware that users inadvertently download with the click of a mouse. Typically, these scams trick victims into thinking an email or a text comes from a trusted source, such as a software provider. They may even go so far as to provide a link to a fictitious website that mirrors the software provider’s actual login page.  Once the virus is downloaded, it may then disable an entire computer network and allow criminals to hold all of a network’s documents and information hostage until a business pays a significant ransom.

To protect your business from the threat of remote takeovers, consider the following tips:

  • Educate employees about the threat of remote takeovers and the dangers of clicking on links or opening attachments in emails from unknown, unsolicited or suspicious senders;
  • Use security software that updates automatically;
  • Run periodic security “deep scans” to search for viruses and malware;
  • Change factory-issued password settings on all wireless devices connected to the network, including mobile phones, computers, printers, fax machines, routers, modems and televisions;
  • Use strong password with a minimum of eight digits and a mix of numbers, letters and special characters for all devices and software access;
  • Regularly review all software that employees use to access the network remotely as well as those used by IT support vendors to remotely troubleshoot technical problems. If possible, disable remote access software until it is needed.

 

About the author: Joseph L. Saka, CPA/PFS, is CEO of Berkowitz Pollack Brant, where he provides a full range of income and estate planning, tax consulting and compliance services, business advice, and financial planning services to entrepreneurs, high-net-worth families and family companies and business executives in the U.S. and abroad. He can be reached at the firm’s Miami office at (305) 379-7000 or via e-mail at info@bpbcpa.com.

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