Chartered accountants are turning out to be easy prey for cyber crooks with nearly 20 persons from the profession taking a hit every month in the city , according to the police.
Since CAs deal with large volumes of financial information, from multiple companies, they are increasingly being targeted by the malicious software `ransomware`.Hackers use this malware to enter systems and lock out users from accessing information. Access is granted only on payment of ransom.
“Since CAs carry out financial audits for companies, intercepting information just once is akin to hacking into several companies in one go. On an average, we get five to six cases from Hyderabad. We also get a few cases from Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore,” said Zaki Qureshey , CEO and founder of cyber security company , E2 labs Informa tion Security Private Limited.
“One day when I tried to log into my system, I saw a black screen with a message flashing `Your system has been hacked into. To get decryption keys pay 20 bitcoins’. That is when I rushed to a cyber security firm. The hackers, how ever, never gave me back access to information on my machine despite paying up,” said one cyber attack victim, adding, the attack resulted in him losing a big client, scaring other clients too. “Now, it is like starting from a scratch for me,” he said. Like many others, the victim has now started backing up every bit of information.
As per cyber crime police, two or three ransomwarerelated cases have been registered in the city in the last few weeks alone. “In most cases, victims try to keep the issue under wraps to protect their business,” said an official in a cyber security firm.