"Spyware is a form of network monitoring software that aids in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge and that may send such information to another entity without the consumer's consent, or that asserts control over a computer without the consumer's knowledge.
Spyware can be present in many forms, amongst the most dangerous is the ability to collect almost any type of data, including personal information such as user logins, and bank or credit account information.
In response to the emergence of spyware, anti-spyware software has become a widely recognized element of computer security practices for computers, especially those running Microsoft Windows." - Wikipedia
Surely the role of a company accountant encompasses a duty to inform clients as to best practices both with regards to record keeping and transaction recording, as well as good corporate governance and network monitoring software tools in as far as this relates to confidentiality and security of data.
Business today exists in an environment of pervasive availability and almost mandatory use of the internet as a means of communication, providing access to information and a transactional 'pipeline'. Whilst facilitating both speed as well as ease of doing business, the 'open' nature of the internet unfortunately also creates massive opportunities for unscrupulous cybercriminals.
It doesn't make any sense to not use the electronic tools available to us.
The days of clients preferring manual 'old school' transaction processing such as sending cheques in the (snail) mail are over. I received an email from my bank last week advising me that the fee to be levied on every cheque that my business processes will be ZAR45 plus vat! In fact, my six-year-old IT business has never had a cheque book - and never will.
It's absolutely imperative for accountants to be aware of spyware threats as well as the anti-spyware software solutions that are available to ensure that clients are secured against these threats.
Accountants need to know about anti-spyware to prevent access to internet banking.
Imagine if one of your clients' devices was infiltrated and infected with a spyware application that included a key-logger that recorded banking and other confidential login details. The cybercriminal may then be in a position to access company bank accounts and steal company funds. Identity theft is another real threat, which is actually even harder to resolve than the theft of funds.
Clearly undetected spyware can easily destroy a company entirely. A company's accountant should be in a position whereby he or she is aware of business threats of this nature as well as legitimate and effective anti-spyware software solutions that can be recommended to clients.
Ironically the best anti-spyware solutions are internet based.
Ironically, whilst the internet and associated connectivity opens the door to unsecured business networks, the most modern and most effective anti-spyware applications are those that are hosted 'in the cloud' and use internet connectivity in order to protect an environment. Hosted anti-spyware solutions secure corporate devices wherever they are and at all times by enabling access to online databases that contain information about every known spyware, malware and virus program that exists.