What To Do If You Have Been HackedThomas Walker
Technological and societal advancements have brought significant changes to the workplace. It isn’t easy to find an organisation that hasn’t implemented automation, cloud computing, or remote working.
Although these changes increase efficiency and reduce operational costs, they also expose your data and systems to further unsavoury characters. Every year, the average New Zealand company will be the victim of a data breach. In Australia, companies are the victim of at least 65 cybersecurity attacks that happen each year!
This of course is a concern. While you or your workplace have probably instituted cybersecurity measures to protect your business to comply with the relevant laws, hackers can still compromise your systems and become savvier.
So, what will you do if you are hacked? Read on to find out as Softvire provides advice on what to do.
What Can Hackers Target?
There are a number of areas that hackers look to target. These include some of the following :
- Websites / Hosting Platforms
- Email Accounts
- IT Network and Infrastructure
- Social Media Accounts
- Online Financial Accounts
- Internal Staff Systems
How Can You Tell If You Have Been Hacked?
Pay attention to suspicious alerts from your own platforms or systems, such as your social media accounts reporting “sign-in” attempts you never made. Fortunately, most social platforms offer help, such as Facebook.
Typically, most of these alerts arrive when a hacking attempt fails, but you can also be notified even if someone successfully hacked your account.
Email verification credentials may also suddenly become invalid, or suspicious card activity may pop up on your bank statement. While these are clear indications of a breach that will be detected by your bank or email provider, you can identify them by searching for warning signs.
Other red flags include being unable to log in to your own systems or friends and family members reporting unusual behaviour coming from your accounts.
If you think you’ve been hacked, the first thing to remember is you are not alone. All individuals and businesses are exposed to the risk of cyber attacks or data breaches, and it is important to stay calm.
Tackling A Hacker : Secure Your Financial Accounts
If the hackers managed to gain access to your bank accounts, you must immediately contact your bank or financial institution and freeze any online transactions. As a matter of fact, you can usually confirm a hacker has access to your information by spotting suspicious and unauthorised credit or debit card transactions that you are unaware of.
Once the credit card company receives your message, it will stop any further transactions from your bank accounts and cancel the debit card.
Do bear in mind that if you are applying for a new card, you may want to go for a credit card instead of a debit card because losing your own money is less harmful than losing a line of credit.
Reset Your Passwords
Cyberattacks usually try to harvest account details and get privileged access to online accounts. It is, therefore, possible to stop hackers in their tracks by simply changing your password.
A new password or the password reset link will be sent to the email associated with your online account.
If you find that your email account has also potentially been compromised, you can still change your password by using other recovery options, such as Google Authenticator. The service provider can also help if you contact them and provide some authentication information.
When you are resetting your password, you should:
- Choose a password that can’t be guessed easily.
- Avoid old passwords.
- Go for passwords that have characters, numbers, spaces, and letters.
A big mistake by many people is that they tend to use the same password for many online accounts. This means that when one account is compromised, all the others may follow suit. Consequently, if the compromised account password is used to access other online accounts, you should change all your online passwords.
That is because the hacker may start poking around to see if your password can give them access to your other online accounts.
Audit Your Devices
Cyber breaches do not always target the account hosting company. In some cases, cyber breaches can originate from your physical devices and result in data loss. Therefore, scanning your computers and mobile devices is essential since you will discover existing malware and spyware.
The malicious software may be responsible for the data breach. For instance, some types of spyware can steal your data by recording keystrokes on your computer. Once the scan is complete, you can remove all existing malware by resetting your machine. It would also help if you installed antivirus software.
Audit Your Online Account
After you have regained control and access to your account, you should ensure that your account details are correct. For instance, the shipping address and card details should be accurate.
Similarly, you should ensure that no third-party apps or programs have access to your account. It is possible that the hacker gave some malicious software the ability to view and edit your account’s data while they had control of the account. The best advice is to revoke all third-party account permissions and start afresh by giving permission to the sites that you trust.
Create an IT Security Policy
For the organisation to effectively prevent another cyberattack, you must come up with a mechanism to identify and ward off any data breaches in the future. This mechanism must have analysis, detection, and remediation processes that will kick in when hackers attempt to infiltrate your systems. An IT security policy is the best mechanism because it provides a comprehensive data protection guideline for employees and the management.
An IT security policy encompasses various activities and processes in your organisation that are susceptible to data breaches. For instance, your company’s workstations hold vital data. If your employees don’t know how to protect the data or react when a data breach occurs, you won’t be able to prevent the occurrence of cyber breaches.
Update Your Software
There is a high likelihood that your systems were compromised because hackers identified a vulnerability in your browser or operating system. Updating your software is key because you will automatically seal any newly discovered security loopholes. In that light, you should avoid procrastination and put software updates at the centre of your security approach.
Software developers typically have a standby team to look out for the latest security weaknesses in their applications. Once they identify a loophole, they will modify their software to create enhanced security. When you update your software regularly, you will benefit from security fixes and receive better features. Some updates even do away with outdated security features and improve software stability.
Repeated reminders can be annoying, but you should appreciate their long-term benefits. Even better, some applications have room for an automatic software update.
Get Cyber Insurance
There is no doubt that a cyberattack will slow down business operations and hurt your brand’s reputation. However, some data breaches can result in legal challenges and the subsequent awarding of damages to affected third parties. Businesses have tried to tackle this challenge by buying a cyber liability insurance policy.
Cyber liability insurance is gaining traction due to its ability to offset financial costs occasioned by data breaches. By paying a monthly or quarterly premium, you can transfer the financial risks to an insurance provider.
While the policy will not cover the cyberattack that just occurred, it can pay for any future hacks provided it has general insurance provisions. Nevertheless, you should know that the policy may become useless after a few months because of the dynamic nature of cyber risks.
It is impossible to avoid hackers in today’s digital world entirely. You can keep most of these criminals away by installing the right software and teaching your employees cybersecurity best practices.
But if the worst happens and hackers find their way into your system, you will need a comeback roadmap. For additional help, this handy checklist can help guide you as you recover from your recent data breach.