Wolters Kluwer accounting giant hit by malware, causing ‘quiet panic’
“It really gave us the opportunity to investigate the problem safely,” Queen explained. “It takes time to gather information, and we are informing our customers and employees about the situation, updating them as best we can.”
One accountant in the Southeast said his investment firm uses to store client tax returns, working papers and other important information. He asked to speak to CNBC on background because he is not authorized by his employer to speak to media.
The accountant said he was still unable to access documents stored in Wolters Kluwer cloud servers as of 2:20 p.m. ET Wednesday, and that his firm was unable to get much information from the company because of the downed communications channels, including customer service numbers he said his firm typically uses.
“Since Tuesday, it was the same thing, no new information,” he said.
On Wednesday afternoon, Wolters Kluwer provided the accountant’s firm with a back-up customer service number. When called, the new technical support number yielded a message saying “we do not have a specific timeline for when we expect to have service fully restored.”
A cybersecurity professional at one Big Four accounting firm said she had received reassurances from Wolters Kluwer that account information had not been accessed. But she also said her firm took additional precautions to “limit any possible exposure” to the malware attack through the accounting giant’s technology connections to the software company.
“We’re, of course, watching it closely and having our own people look at the problem,” she said. The cybersecurity professional asked to remain anonymous because she is not authorized to speak to media.
The accountant from the Midwest-based accounting firm said that data loss was his “primary concern.” But he said he’d only received one call from a client asking about data.
“I’d characterize it as a bit of a ‘quiet panic’ right now in the corporate accounting world, without a lot of information,” he said.
For the clients who need to file by May 15, the accountant said he is coming up with a back-up plan: “Do it by hand.”