Last Updated on June 7, 2023 by sourav sahu
In the present time, e-recording annual government forms have become progressively well known because of their accommodation and proficiency. Taxpayers can save time and effort by submitting their financial information electronically.
In any case, with the ascent of digital dangers, it is important to execute network safety measures to guarantee the security of sensitive information.
In order to assist taxpayers in securely completing their e-filing of income tax returns, we will examine a number of essential cybersecurity tips in this article.
Understand the Risks
Filing income tax returns online offers convenience and efficiency, but it also comes with its fair share of risks. As you embark on this digital journey, it’s crucial to understand the potential threats lurking in cyberspace. By being aware of these risks, you can take proactive steps to protect yourself and your sensitive financial information.
Feeling of Urgency
During tax season, cybercriminals are known to exploit the heightened activity and urgency surrounding tax filings. One common tactic is phishing attacks. Here, scammers impersonate legitimate organizations or individuals to trick you into revealing personal information or clicking on malicious links.
In most cases, they send you an email that appears to be from the tax authority, urging you to provide your credentials urgently. Now, how to be safe from them? Stay vigilant and double-check the sender’s email address and the authenticity of the email before taking any action.
Malware and Ransomware
This type of attack can infect your computer and hold your data hostage until you pay a ransom. Cybercriminals often disguise malware as legitimate tax preparation software or attachments in emails. It’s essential to have up-to-date antivirus software and be cautious while downloading files or clicking on suspicious links.
Identity theft is a significant concern when it comes to tax filings. Fraudsters aim to steal your personal information, such as your Social Security number, to file fraudulent tax returns on your behalf. This can lead to financial loss and a lengthy process of resolving the issue. Do not share sensitive data and only provide it to authorized and secure platforms.
The rise of fake tax preparation websites adds another layer of risk. These sites mimic legitimate tax preparation services and deceive users into entering their sensitive information. Before using any tax software or website, do thorough research to ensure its credibility. Look for reviews, check for security certifications, and verify the legitimacy of the platform with official tax authorities.
Essential Cybersecurity Measures for Secure E-Filing of Income Tax Returns
Use Strong and Distinctive Passwords
Creating strong and unique passwords is a vital step in preserving online technology security. A secure password comprises upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. The use of easily guessable combinations, such as birth dates or consecutive numerals, is discouraged.
Furthermore, separate passwords must be used for various Internet accounts. This reduces the possibility of several accounts being hacked if a single password is exposed.
Turn on Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Adding two-factor authentication to your e-filing process gives an additional degree of protection. A second verification method is needed to access your account with 2FA.
This might be a one-time code given to your phone or email. Enabling 2FA on your e-filing platform reduces the chances of unauthorized access even if your password is compromised.
Update and Protect Your Devices
Updating your gadgets on a regular basis is another important factor for protecting against possible vulnerabilities. Fixes for known security vulnerabilities are often included in operating system upgrades and security patches.
You can guarantee that you have the most current security against possible dangers by keeping your gadgets up to date.
Furthermore, it is also important to use trustworthy antivirus and antimalware software or apps to identify and delete any harmful software that may compromise your data.
Phishing Attacks Should Be Avoided
Phishing attacks are still a frequent method used by hackers to gain sensitive information. Phishing efforts often include fraudulent emails, text messages, or phone calls designed to fool people into disclosing personal or financial information.
Always proceed with care when replying to such requests to avoid phishing attempts. Before submitting any information, confirm the validity of the request. Avoid clicking on dodgy links and downloading files from unfamiliar sources.
Use Secure Wi-Fi Networks
It is critical to always use safe and reputable Wi-Fi networks while completing your income tax returns online. Hackers can easily exploit public or insecure Wi-Fi networks, such as those found at coffee shops or airports or railway stations.
Instead, utilize secure and encrypted networks that need a password, such as WPA2. Using a secure network guarantees that your data is securely sent.
You can use a virtual private network (VPN) to create a secure connection between your device and the e-filing of income tax return platform if required.
Store and Dispose of Sensitive Information Securely
Maintaining cybersecurity requires properly keeping and disposing of sensitive tax-related records. When it comes to digital records, keep them encrypted and kept in safe places.
Password-protected files or encrypted external storage devices are ideal ways to preserve digital tax documents. It is also critical to safely dispose of tangible records. Use a cross-cut shredder to guarantee that unauthorized parties cannot reassemble sensitive information.
Keep an Eye on Your Financial Statements on a Regular Basis
Keeping a close eye on your financial records is critical for immediately spotting any unauthorized transfer. On a regular basis, check your bank statements, credit card bills, and other financial documents for any unusual activity.
If you detect any irregularities or unusual actions, immediately notify your banking institution. Prompt action may help avoid more financial harm.
As e-filing income tax returns become the standard, it is critical to prioritize cybersecurity to secure sensitive financial information.
Taxpayers should reduce their chance of falling victim to cyber-attacks and guarantee the safe filing of their tax returns by following the cybersecurity advice outlined above.
Remember to use strong and unique passwords, activate two-factor authentication, routinely update your devices, and be wary of phishing efforts. These precautions allow you to easily navigate the e-filing of income tax return process while protecting your personal and financial information.
Protecting your information is critical, and following these cybersecurity precautions will help to ensure a safe and secure e-filing experience.
What are the tips for Cybersecurity?
From the article, we can summarise that if you follow the below mentioned steps, then most probably you will be free from cyber-attacks
1. Use Strong and Distinctive Passwords
2. Turn on Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
3. Update and Protect Your Devices
4. Phishing Attacks Should Be Avoided
5. Use Secure Wi-Fi Networks
6. Store and Dispose of Sensitive Information Securely
7. Keep an Eye on Your Financial Statements on a Regular Basis
What is CIAAN in Security?
CIAAN is the abbreviation of Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability, Authentication and Non-repudiation. Here is the bried description of CIAAN
Confidentiality: Protecting sensitive information from unauthorized access or disclosure.
Integrity: Ensuring data remains unaltered and accurate throughout its lifecycle, safeguarding against unauthorized modifications.
Availability: Ensuring that systems, networks, and data are accessible to authorized users when needed.
Authentication: Verifying the identity of users and entities accessing systems or data to prevent unauthorized access.
Non-repudiation: Preventing individuals from denying their actions or transactions, ensuring accountability and traceability.
What are the 5 C’s of cybersecurity?
The 5 C’s of cybersecurity are Change, Compliance, Coverage, Cost, and Continuity. These factors help organizations enhance their security measures:
Change: Adapt and update security measures to address evolving threats.
Compliance: Adhere to laws, regulations, and industry standards.
Coverage: Implement comprehensive security measures across all areas.
Cost: Balance security investments with available resources.
Continuity: Plan for incident response and recovery to ensure business continuity.
Considering these 5 C’s strengthens cybersecurity posture and safeguards systems, networks, and data.