Tax Security 101 – Security Summit outlines ‘Security Six’ basic safeguards for tax professionals’ computers and email

Written by promotiondept

November 12, 2018

Tax Security 101 – Security Summit outlines ‘Security Six’ basic safeguards for tax professionals’ comers and email

IR-2018-150, July 17, 2018

IR-2018-150, July 17, 2018

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service and the Security Summit partners outlined critical steps for tax professionals to protect their comers and email as well as safeguarding sensitive taxpayer data.

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service and the Security Summit partners outlined critical steps for tax professionals to protect their comers and email as well as safeguarding sensitive taxpayer data.

The “Security Six” protections fall into several major security categories. The Security Summit partnership urges tax professionals across the nation to avoiding overlooking these basic security details as identity thieves increasingly target practitioners in search of valuable taxpayer data.

The “Security Six” protections fall into several major security categories. The Security Summit partnership urges tax professionals across the nation to avoiding overlooking these basic security details as identity thieves increasingly target practitioners in search of valuable taxpayer data.

There is a dizzying array of cyber threats that confront tax professionals and many others. It’s not easy to keep up with all the viruses, worms, Trojan horses, bots – or even the terminology. That’s why it’s essential that all tax professionals deploy strong security softe that will do the job for you.

There is a dizzying array of cyber threats that confront tax professionals and many others. It’s not easy to keep up with all the viruses, worms, Trojan horses, bots – or even the terminology. That’s why it’s essential that all tax professionals deploy strong security softe that will do the job for you.

The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the private-sector tax industry – known as the Security Summit partners – today are trying to help tax professionals decipher the confusing world of security softe that is key to safeguarding taxpayer data stored on practitioner’s comer networks.

The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the private-sector tax industry – known as the Security Summit partners – today are trying to help tax professionals decipher the confusing world of security softe that is key to safeguarding taxpayer data stored on practitioner’s comer networks.

This is the second in a series called “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself: Tax Security 101.” The Security Summit aeness campaign is intended to provide tax professionals with the basic information they need to better protect taxpayer data and to help prevent the filing of fraudulent tax returns.

This is the second in a series called “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself: Tax Security 101.” The Security Summit aeness campaign is intended to provide tax professionals with the basic information they need to better protect taxpayer data and to help prevent the filing of fraudulent tax returns.

Although the Security Summit is making progress against tax-related identity theft, cybercriminals continue to evolve, and data thefts at tax professionals’ offices is on the rise. Thieves use stolen data from tax practitioners to create fraudulent returns that are harder to detect.

Although the Security Summit is making progress against tax-related identity theft, cybercriminals continue to evolve, and data thefts at tax professionals’ offices is on the rise. Thieves use stolen data from tax practitioners to create fraudulent returns that are harder to detect.

Here are the “Security Six,” the must-have areas to secure taxpayer data on comers. All tax professionals, whether part of a large firm or a one-person shop, must enact security safeguards. Many of these steps are a good idea not just for tax professionals but for any taxpayer or small business:  

Here are the “Security Six,” the must-have areas to secure taxpayer data on comers. All tax professionals, whether part of a large firm or a one-person shop, must enact security safeguards. Many of these steps are a good idea not just for tax professionals but for any taxpayer or small business:  

Although details may vary between packages, anti-virus softe scans files or comer’s memory for certain patterns that may indicate the presence of malicious softe (i.e., male). Anti-virus softe (sometimes more broadly referred to as anti-male softe) looks for patterns based on the sigs or definitions of known male. Anti-virus vendors find new and updated male daily, so it is important that users have the la updates installed on their comer, according to the Comer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), a division of the Department of Homeland Security.

Once users have installed an anti-virus package, they should scan their entire comer periodically:

Although details may vary between packages, anti-virus softe scans files or comer’s memory for certain patterns that may indicate the presence of malicious softe (i.e., male). Anti-virus softe (sometimes more broadly referred to as anti-male softe) looks for patterns based on the sigs or definitions of known male. Anti-virus vendors find new and updated male daily, so it is important that users have the la updates installed on their comer, according to the Comer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), a division of the Department of Homeland Security.

Once users have installed an anti-virus package, they should scan their entire comer periodically:

Sometimes the softe will produce a dialog box with an alert that it has found male and ask whether users want it to “clean” the file (to remove the male). In other cases, the softe may attempt to remove the male without asking first. When selecting an anti-virus package, learn about its features so you know what to expect. Keep security softe set to automatically receive the la updates so that it is always current.

Sometimes the softe will produce a dialog box with an alert that it has found male and ask whether users want it to “clean” the file (to remove the male). In other cases, the softe may attempt to remove the male without asking first. When selecting an anti-virus package, learn about its features so you know what to expect. Keep security softe set to automatically receive the la updates so that it is always current.

A reminder about spye: Strong security softe should protect against spye. But remember, never click links within pop-up windows, never download “free” softe from a pop-up, never follow email links that offer anti-spye softe. The links and pop-ups may be installing the spye they claim to be eliminating.

A reminder about spye: Strong security softe should protect against spye. But remember, never click links within pop-up windows, never download “free” softe from a pop-up, never follow email links that offer anti-spye softe. The links and pop-ups may be installing the spye they claim to be eliminating.

A reminder about phishing: A strong security package also should contain anti-phishing capabilities, but an email provider and browser provider also should include anti-phishing protections. Never open an email from a suspicious source, click on a link in a suspicious email or open an attachment – or else you could be a victim of a phishing attack.

A reminder about phishing: A strong security package also should contain anti-phishing capabilities, but an email provider and browser provider also should include anti-phishing protections. Never open an email from a suspicious source, click on a link in a suspicious email or open an attachment – or else you could be a victim of a phishing attack.

Firewalls provide protection against out attackers by shielding your comer or network from malicious or unnecessary network traffic and preventing malicious softe from accessing the network. Firewalls can be configured to block data from certain locations or applications while allowing relevant and necessary data through, according to US-CERT.

Firewalls provide protection against out attackers by shielding your comer or network from malicious or unnecessary network traffic and preventing malicious softe from accessing the network. Firewalls can be configured to block data from certain locations or applications while allowing relevant and necessary data through, according to US-CERT.

Firewalls may be broadly categorized as harde or softe. While both have their advantages and disadvantages, the decision to use a firewall is far more important than deciding which type you use.

Firewalls may be broadly categorized as harde or softe. While both have their advantages and disadvantages, the decision to use a firewall is far more important than deciding which type you use.

While properly configured firewalls may be effective at blocking some attacks, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Firewalls do not guarantee that a comer will not be attacked. Firewalls primarily help protect against malicious traffic, not against malicious programs (male), and may not protect the device if the user accidentally installs male. However, using a firewall in conjunction with other protective measures (such as anti-virus softe and safe coming practices) will strengthen resistance to attacks.

While properly configured firewalls may be effective at blocking some attacks, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Firewalls do not guarantee that a comer will not be attacked. Firewalls primarily help protect against malicious traffic, not against malicious programs (male), and may not protect the device if the user accidentally installs male. However, using a firewall in conjunction with other protective measures (such as anti-virus softe and safe coming practices) will strengthen resistance to attacks.

The Security Summit reminds tax pros that anti-virus softe and firewalls cannot protect data if comer users fall for email phishing scams and divulge sensitive data, such as usernames and passwords. The user, not the softe, is the first-line of in protecting taxpayer data.

The Security Summit reminds tax pros that anti-virus softe and firewalls cannot protect data if comer users fall for email phishing scams and divulge sensitive data, such as usernames and passwords. The user, not the softe, is the first-line of in protecting taxpayer data.

Many email providers now offer customers two-factor authentication protections to access email accounts. Tax professionals should always use this option to prevent their accounts from being taken over by cybercriminals and ting their clients and colleagues at risk.

Many email providers now offer customers two-factor authentication protections to access email accounts. Tax professionals should always use this option to prevent their accounts from being taken over by cybercriminals and ting their clients and colleagues at risk.

Two-factor authentication helps by adding an extra layer of protection. Often two-factor authentication means the returning user must enter credentials (username and password) plus another step such as entering a security code sent via text to a mobile phone. The idea is a thief may be able to steal the username and password but it’s highly unlikely they also would have a user’s mobile phone to receive a security code and complete the process.

Two-factor authentication helps by adding an extra layer of protection. Often two-factor authentication means the returning user must enter credentials (username and password) plus another step such as entering a security code sent via text to a mobile phone. The idea is a thief may be able to steal the username and password but it’s highly unlikely they also would have a user’s mobile phone to receive a security code and complete the process.

The use of two-factor authentication and even three-factor authentication is on the rise, and tax preparers should always opt for a multi-factor authentication protection when it is offered, whether on an email account or tax softe account or any password-protected product. IRS Secure Access, which protects IRS.gov tools including e-Services, is an example of two-factor authentication. Check email account settings to see if the email provider offers two-factor protections.

The use of two-factor authentication and even three-factor authentication is on the rise, and tax preparers should always opt for a multi-factor authentication protection when it is offered, whether on an email account or tax softe account or any password-protected product. IRS Secure Access, which protects IRS.gov tools including e-Services, is an example of two-factor authentication. Check email account settings to see if the email provider offers two-factor protections.

Critical files on comers should routinely be ed up to external sources. This means a copy of the file is made and stored either online as part of a cloud storage service or similar product. Or, a copy of the file is made to an external disk, such as an external hard drive that now comes with multiple terabytes of storage capacity. Tax professionals should ensure that taxpayer data that is ed up also is encrypted.

Critical files on comers should routinely be ed up to external sources. This means a copy of the file is made and stored either online as part of a cloud storage service or similar product. Or, a copy of the file is made to an external disk, such as an external hard drive that now comes with multiple terabytes of storage capacity. Tax professionals should ensure that taxpayer data that is ed up also is encrypted.

Given the sensitive client data maintained on tax practitioners’ comers, users should conr drive encryption softe for full-disk encryption. Drive encryption, or disk encryption, transforms data on the comer into unreadable files for the unauthorized person accessing the comer. Drive encryption may come as a stand-alone security softe product. It may also include encryption for removable media, such as a thumb drive and its data.

Given the sensitive client data maintained on tax practitioners’ comers, users should conr drive encryption softe for full-disk encryption. Drive encryption, or disk encryption, transforms data on the comer into unreadable files for the unauthorized person accessing the comer. Drive encryption may come as a stand-alone security softe product. It may also include encryption for removable media, such as a thumb drive and its data.

The Security Summit also reminds tax professionals of several other important steps. All professional tax return preparers must have a written data security plan as required by the Federal Trade Commission and its Safeguards Rule. Tax professionals also can get help with security recommendations and creating a data security plan by reviewing the recently revised IRS Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, and Small Business Information Security: the Fundamentals by the National Institute of and Technology.

Publication 5293, Data Security Resource Guide for Tax Professionals, provides a compilation data theft information available on IRS.gov. Also, tax professionals should stay connected to the IRS through subscriptions to e-News for Tax Professionals, QuickAlerts and Social Media.

The Security Summit also reminds tax professionals of several other important steps. All professional tax return preparers must have a written data security plan as required by the Federal Trade Commission and its Safeguards Rule. Tax professionals also can get help with security recommendations and creating a data security plan by reviewing the recently revised IRS Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, and Small Business Information Security: the Fundamentals by the National Institute of and Technology.

Publication 5293, Data Security Resource Guide for Tax Professionals, provides a compilation data theft information available on IRS.gov. Also, tax professionals should stay connected to the IRS through subscriptions to e-News for Tax Professionals, QuickAlerts and Social Media.


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