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A big hack

As you may know, hacking is always a threat in information systems. Every few months we hear of one. The latest reported by Reuters is a hack of millions of mail accounts – mainly mail.ru, but some Google and Yahoo accounts.

So what is the one simple step to protect your mail account – change the password regularly ­čÖé

Security threats for 2016

  In Chapter  2, we outline some of the security issues in any information system. These threats are many and we do not cover them in great detail. Recently, Kim Zettner from wired.com provided a great summary of the security threats faced by information systems in the coming year. It is worth a read.

Outgrowing your accounting software?

As a business grows, so too does its accounting needs. And this includes software. The are many choices to be made of a software  

 change is required. My own experience is the key thing to do is first understand where things are not going well. This post from it-director.com offers some useful advice.

    What an operating system probably should not be

      In chapter two of our book we describe some basic concepts like operating system – which is the software running a computer.

    There are many such operating systems and some like Linux are open source, meaning the underlying code can be changed as required. Apparently, North Korea has taken an open source operating system to another level, modifying it to track file usage. You can read an article here about it, but I guess what it reminds us is that operating systems are about controlling after all.

    Ways for accountants and CFOs to keep up with technology

    Technological change has always been one of the common issues faced by accountants. What can accountants do to keep up with the pace of change. An article from CGMA provides some useful tips.

    A basic security tip

    Very often there are media reports on security breaches and identity theft. And quite often companies get the blame. Mostly however it is the user that is the weak link. Take for example this article where many U.S. taxpayers online details were compromised. The article notes how details were hacked from other websites and these same details were used to gain access to the IRS online tools. So how can such breaches be prevented. Simply have different passwords for each site. But that’s tricky! Well not really, use a password manager like Dashlane which randomly generates passwords. It will also auto fill them in your browser and remind you to change them at regular intervals. Simple, and more secure than reusing the same password.

    Making investments in technology

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    ´╗┐More and more, accountants and CFOs are involved in key decisions on what information technology to invest in. They may or may not have a level of technical knowledge to make a fully informed decision. This article from CGMA provides some useful guidance, providing some questions accountants need to ask.

    Y2K and 2038

    An article in the Economist a while ago reminds us that not matter how complicated computers are, all they really know is 0 and 1- the binary system. Using the binary system, it is easy to represent these two numbers as on or off on various media.

    Back in 2000, the date field on many systems could only hold two digit years, so the year could be 1900 or 2000. As the article explains, the Gangnam Style video on YouTube broke the counter for similar reasons – the counter field had a limited length. In 2038, the date field for many operating systems will also run out. It’s unlikely to be an issue – the Y2K problem wasn’t either – but it does remind us of what underlies all computing devices.

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    Types of cyber attack

    We have all heard of cyber attacks on business and they are increasingly a security issue for businesses. Some attacks can be a nuisance, while others can actually hit business revenues or costs. This article from CGMA magazine give a useful summary of the various types of attacks out there.

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    Wifi security

    image from tinker-tailor-solider-spy.com

    While networks have many advantages – the key one being connected systems and data – their key problem is security. The only way to be absolutely certain that data transmitted on a network is secure is secure is to encrypt it – and this is an issue of much debate in recent times.

    While a wired network may offer some physical security – hackers have to get one the premises effectively – wireless networks have always had an issue in that they can be “scanned”. Many of use have probably used unsecure/free public wifi on a bus or in a coffee shop. This is fine once you are not sending confidential information.

    And I am sure many of us have used the sometimes costly wifi in hotels. We may think as we pay, it is more secure. A recent blog post on the┬áEconomist┬á suggests otherwise. The post notes a report by Kaspersky Labs, which found that specific persons staying in hotels were targeted and their hotel wifi connection snooped. This was down to some clever malicious software, but the lesson to be learned for a business might be – assume all wifi you do not control is unsecure.