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The Australian Taxation Office has issued a series of steps for businesses to take to protect themselves – and their client information – from cyber threats.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre’s (ACSC) Essential Eight contains baseline mitigation strategies to protect the systems of tax professionals from common cyber threats.
The ATO said it is vital that tax professionals also be aware of physical threats, because if a practice experiences a break-in, it may result in criminals stealing sensitive information to attempt tax-related fraud.
There are eight simple steps the ATO suggests that every practice takes to ensure they are cyber safe.
If a practice does experience a break-in, the ATO encourages it to report it to the police and contact its office as soon as possible on 1800 467 033 between 8.00am and 6.00pm AEDT, Monday to Friday.
Depending on the risk associated with the incident if there is a loss of client data, the ATO may need to withdraw access to its systems while the breach is remediated.
Practices should also advise the Tax Practitioners Board when a breach has occurred, so they can advise them in relation to their obligations under the Code of Professional Conduct.