October 2, 2018

Stay Ahead of Cybercriminals with a “No Safe Attachments” Email Policy

Third in a series of four blog posts on cybersecurity

Most phishing emails appear innocent. The email may contain an “invoice,” “resume” or “receipt,” and look legitimate, but think again. Cybercriminals send those emails hoping you click on the attachment and give up information that provides access to everything they need to compromise you and your business. Sometimes just by clicking on that attachment, they can install malicious software on your workstation to cause harm without you even knowing.

Don’t let the cybercriminals exploit your curiosity or fear to open that attachment. If you adopt the premise that there are NO SAFE ATTACHMENTS, and take precautions, you can stay ahead of the predators.

Malicious codes can be entered into all types of documents, including PDFs. File types that should put you on high alert are:

  • Executable files such as: .exe, .bat, .js, .jar, or .vbs. They can automatically install software onto your machine
  • Zip files such as .zip, .rar, 7-Zip files are compressed files. Some antivirus programs can’t scan the compressed files, so malicious malware can hide easily here
  • PDF and Microsoft Office files such as .pdf, .docx, .xlsx may have embedded macros or scripts inside that can contain malware

These examples are only a few of the executable file types that could cause you harm. When you encounter one of these files, take extra care to make sure that you are protected by simply scanning with your preferred anti-virus product or calling the sender to verify the email.

Now that you know how to better identify unsafe email attachments, learn how to recognize phishing and spear phishing attempts and malicious URL links. Anders Technology is here to help protect your business from cybersecurity attacks that could cost you time and money. Our team can implement a cybersecurity training program within your company to educate employees on the latest best practices to avoid a cyber attack. Contact an Anders advisor to learn more.

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October 2, 2018

Think Before Unknowingly Clicking Malicious URL Links

Fourth in a series of four blog posts on cybersecurity

Before you click on that URL link, think again. Do you really know where it is going to redirect you? Cybercriminals are using links to lure you to malicious websites, install malware, or trick you into entering your personal information. If you click on the link, you could be providing a cybercriminal with the opportunity to “learn your behavior,” and then expose you to a more targeted phishing attack later.

Before you click, hover your mouse over the link in the email. A box should pop up with another URL, but don’t click on it! Instead, look for the following characteristics to identify a malicious link:

1) Does the domain name match the company sending you the email, including correct spelling?

  • A good link would be http://www.anderscpa.com
  • A potential bad link would be http://www.andercpa-clients.com

2) Are there a bunch of strange characters in the URL link?

  • An example to be cautious of could look like this: Http://%4b%2tiny.cc%1587g5648ads

3) Is the URL link too short? Cybercriminals commonly use shorter links to mask a malicious website. The shorter links also give you a false sense of security.

  • An example could look like this: http://tiny.cc/1

Remember to never click on an unexpected link, hover over the link, investigate the domain name carefully, and when in doubt go to a browser window and type in the company’s website to verify. These steps may take a little extra time but could save you both time and money in the long-run.

Now that you know how to better identify malicious URL links, learn how to recognize phishing and spear phishing attempts and unsafe email attachments. The Anders Technology Services Group is here to help protect your business from cybersecurity attacks that could cost you time and money. Our team can implement a cybersecurity training program within your company to educate employees on the latest best practices to avoid a cyber attack. Contact an Anders advisor to learn more.

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October 2, 2018

Adam Prest Named a Best Accountant by St. Louis Small Business Monthly

Adam S. Prest, CPA has been named to St. Louis Small Business Monthly’s Best Accountants list. Each month, St. Louis Small Business Monthly (SBM) asks readers to help identify the best in the area in a particular industry as part of the SBM Best in Business Awards. The SBM Best Accountants list features 25 local accountants voted the best in St. Louis. Prest was also named to the Top St. Louis Accountants list in August 2016.

About Adam Prest

Adam Prest is a senior manager in the Anders Tax Services Group, focusing on helping families, closely-held businesses, as well as their owners plan for retirement and minimize their corporate and individual taxes. He specializes in a variety of industries, including Sports, Arts and Entertainment and Real Estate and Construction. He played a key role in establishing the Anders Young Professionals Group, and served as the Chair of the Leading Edge Alliance Young Professionals Steering Group for two years. Prest earned a B.B.A. in Accounting from McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois.

Read the full list of Best Accountants in the October 2018 edition of St. Louis Small Business Monthly.

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October 1, 2018

Anders and LEA Launch National Benchmarking Survey for Manufacturers

To fill a void of relevant benchmarking data, Anders and our accounting association, the Leading Edge Alliance (LEA), have launched the third annual National Manufacturing Outlook Survey, and we are requesting participation. Created specifically for privately-held manufacturers, this is the only survey that concentrates solely on the middle market.

Please take a moment to participate in our survey, the more participation, the better the data companies will receive.

The survey should only take about 10 minutes to complete, and we will share the results in January. Individual responses will be kept strictly confidential. The survey will close on October 30th.

Click here to take the survey.

View the results of the 2018 National Manufacturing Outlook Survey.

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