October is National Cyber Security Awareness month, according to the Department of Homeland Security, and the fifth anniversary of “Stop. Think. Connect,” the national cybersecurity education and awareness campaign. Cyber security is a critical issue in financial services. Today’s cyber threat environment is constantly changing, and using increasingly sophisticated methods hackers can gain login credentials, sensitive data or – worse yet – money from their victims.
Cyber theft is no longer the sole responsibility of an IT department – finance and accounting professionals have to be just as wary of potential threats. According to BC Krishna, there are many tactics hackers use to target a finance department, a popular one being the fake invoice scam. These bogus invoices could seemingly come from a real vendor submitting invoices for services never delivered, or a con artist assuming the identity of a real vendor.
These types of scams are a serious problem. In late August, the FBI issued a warning about business e-mail compromise (BEC) scams – also known as “CEO fraud” – that it said have been responsible for $1.2 billion in fraud globally in just the last couple years.
While fake invoices or CEO fraud can be easy schemes for fraudsters to pull off, they can be just as easy to protect against. From an accounting perspective, a slight procedural change to how payments are approved could go a long way towards ensuring that your company – or in the case of an accounting firm, your client – is not the next victim.
Last month, BC Krishna penned an article published in CPA Practice Advisor around cyber threats particular to financial controllers and systems, and how new technologies, like AP and payments automation can help reduce risk to your business; view it online at: http://www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/news/12114732/scams-show-the-vital-importance-of-strong-financial-controls.