10 Ways to Protect Your Business from Cyber Fraud

March 2017

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Cybersecurity is replacing physical security over assets and information. Cyberattacks can have a devastating impact on your business, especially when the hackers’ end game is to shut down your entire computer system. Countless victims, big and small, find themselves negotiating with hackers to obtain encryption codes to unlock their own data and systems after the hackers have locked them out. These hackers are serious and want money for this service.

Could this happen to you? Could you survive an attack on your systems and the loss of data?

Rosanne Walters, partner of BDO’s Forensic & Investigative Services offers tips to help protect your business from cyber fraud:

1.    Keep your applications and operating systems current

  • Hackers know the weaknesses in outdated software and hardware. To avoid exploitation, make sure your systems are kept updated.

2.     Use security software to protect your systems  

  • Activate firewalls and anti-virus/malware software and update these programs regularly.
  • These security measures will help identify viruses and are an excellent first line of defense, but not 100% foolproof. Sophisticated hackers can trick these programs and bypass security measures.

3.     Encrypt your data

  • Encrypt your data, especially sensitive financial information and customer information.  
  • In the event of a security breach, the encrypted data will be protected from use or exploitation by hackers.

4.    Regularly back up your data

  • Back up your data on a daily basis, if possible.
  • If your system is breached, you can restore it using backed-up data and avoid the need to purchase an encryption code from the hackers.

5.    Train your employees

  • Viruses often enter your system through attachments in legitimate-looking emails. Train employees to avoid clicking on unexpected attachments and to report any suspicious emails. These emails usually arrive during off-hours; they often have obvious grammar and spelling mistakes.
  • Ensure employees never provide or confirm their user ID or password to anyone by email or phone. Hackers are great at posing as legitimate individuals or employees.

Read More: Ten Ways to Protect your Business from Fraud


6.    Limit employees’ access to systems

  • In the event that an employee clicks on a malicious attachment, the virus can only infect applications they have access to.
  • To limit damage to data, only allow employees to access the data that is required for their particular job.

7.    Use strong passwords

  • Systems can be accessed by passwords. Easily hacked passwords are a gold mine for malicious invaders.
  • Change passwords regularly and use numbers, characters and letters. The more characters in a password, the harder to hack.
  • Avoid writing passwords down.
  • An easy way to remember a password is to use a phrase. An obscure phrase is even more difficult to hack.  

8.    Discuss your concerns with your IT professionals

  • Ensure your IT professionals are aware of your concerns and discuss their efforts to combat cybersecurity breaches.
  • Discuss a recovery plan in the event that a security breach occurs.


9.    Look into Cyber Fraud Insurance

  • Cyber fraud insurance can cover for actual financial losses plus additional losses due to business interruption, recovery, privacy breaches and investigation costs.

10.    Never stop evolving

  • Hackers are constantly evolving their methods of attack. Your security measures must also evolve to keep pace.  

For more information on this or other issues facing your business, please contact your local BDO office. Contributor: 

Rosanne Walters 
Partner, Financial Advisory Services