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Malware Attack on Accounting Firm Refocuses Importance of Fintech

This article was originally published on ETFTrends.com.

A malware attack on tax and accounting software giant Wolters Kluwer is sparking concerns regarding the security of sensitive information, such as tax return and financial information stored on its cloud computing servers. As technology in the financial world continues to develop, security will emerge as an important focus in fintech.

Wolters Kluwer provides software technology to the top 100 accounting firms in the U.S., as well as 90% of top global banks and 93% of Fortune 500 companies, according to the company web site. The attack left a number of its tax and accounting services in tatters since early Monday morning.

As a result, customers have been unable to access customer tax returns or personal informationvduring a busy filing period where taxes for non-profit organizations are due May 15.

"We have a really close relationship with our customers, and we understand that this situation impacted their day-to-day work," Elizabeth Queen, vice president of risk management for Wolters Kluwer, told CNBC. "We're working around the clock to restore service, and we want to provide them the assurance that we can restore service safely. We've made very good progress so far." Queen said the company has contacted authorities and third-party forensic teams to investigate the incident.

ETFs to look at in the growing fintech space include the Global X FinTech ETF (FINX) and the  ARK Fintech Innovation ETF (ARKF) .

ARKF invests in equity securities of companies that ARK believes are shifting financial services and economic transactions to technology infrastructure platforms, ultimately revolutionizing financial services by creating simplicity and accessibility while driving down costs.

“Powered by innovations within mobile, artificial intelligence, and blockchain technology, companies within fintech are working to disintermediate or bypass incumbent financial players and challenge traditional institutions by offering new solutions that are better, cheaper, faster, and more novel and secure,” stated ARK’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Catherine Wood.

“Fintech reimagines the generation, transfer, and storage of value in today’s increasingly digital economy, and its impact will extend across every industry. Through facilitating peer-to-peer transfers, gifting, intermediary products, and other non-GDP related economic activity, the companies in ARKF, in our view, will touch more than the $80 trillion in GDP today,” Wood added.

Contactless payment systems typically fly under the radar, but more popular applications like Apple Pay are drawing more attention to the industry. Prior to the FIS purchase, Fiserv agreed to buy payment processor First Data for about $22 billion earlier this year.

The purchase of Worldpay would give FIS a large footprint in the e-commerce market given that the former is responsible for facilitating 40 billion transactions per year.

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