Have You Been Hacked? Now What?

what to do when you’re hacked

Without cybersecurity, you are very likely to become a victim of hacking, whether you’re an individual or a business enterprise.

Whether you’re a large enterprise or an individual, you’re not alone when it comes to being hacked, although that’s of little solace. These are the times in which we live and hacking happens, probably more than most people or companies realize until it happens.

Sharing information with people and businesses you trust is one thing, but when a criminal hacking team gets access to your personal or company information, their main goal is to monetize its unauthorized access — fast. And, sadly it is possible. So, what can you do once you realize that you’ve been hacked?

Major hacks are usually all over the media outlets, so your first inclination may be to check to see if you’re affected. Since there are millions within a security breach, the hackers may never get around to contacting each individual, but keep in mind that your antivirus provides no protection against a security breach happening on a remote server.

Personal Hacks

For an individual, the first indication that you’ve been hacked on a credit card may be unexpected items on your bill you didn’t buy. Always read your credit card bills, and take care to figure out what every line means—even the small ones. Card thieves will occasionally put through a few small purchases, just to make sure the card is okay, before making a big purchase. You can use a personal finance service to keep an eye on all your credit card transactions from one place.

Depending on the kind of account you have with your bank, they can decline the charges and issue you a new card. The bank will usually contact you to advise you of the problem. Remember, an identity thief can also use your personal information to open credit accounts, accounts you know nothing about.

As for protecting against full-scale identity theft, there are some things you can do. Never fill out any information on web forms beyond what is absolutely required. If it’s required but not relevant, like your street address on a site that doesn’t ship things to you, make something up! Get an inexpensive shredder for paper bills and statements. Review all statements, and make use of your free credit reports. Support all your efforts by installing a powerful security suite.

Be aware of email hacks, too. Obvious ways to tell if your email has been hacked can include: your password has changed; you get emails you don’t recognize; friends are receiving spam emails from you; or a different IP address show up in your log. If any of these occur, change your password.

Yes, there’s some effort involved, some vigilance. That said, it’s vastly less than the work you’d have to expend to recover if hackers managed to steal your identity.

Company Hacks

While cybersecurity attacks on large companies are usually what make the news, the fact is small and medium-sized businesses face the greatest number of attacks. Unfortunately, since the COVID-19 outbreak an uptick in sophisticated phishing email schemes by cybercriminals has emerged.

Cyberattacks are not a matter of ‘if’, not ‘when’, so having proper cybersecurity and crisis management strategies in your company is critical. This should include a plan of action when your business is hacked.

How to Know When You’ve Been Hacked
There are many warning signs to look for if you suspect there has been a cybersecurity breach. The most obvious signs usually occur in company browsers. Examples include ransomware messages, receiving a fake antivirus message, redirected internet searches, frequent, random popups, and rogue mouse pointers.

Stronger signals indicating a company has been hacked by cybercriminals are usually the most destructive. You may observe strange network traffic patterns, large numbers of requests for the same file, geographical irregularities, database extractions, and more.

In today’s cybercrime environment,  every company — small, medium, or large needs cybersecurity. Without it, the entire business could be threatened.

What Happens When a Company Gets Hacked?
Because a security breach affects many areas of a business, each area must be scrutinized. One of the main issues is unplanned downtime. A halt in operations is determined by the extent of the breach. Time and money are lost. A cybercriminal may even be hacking company software with the intention to disrupt its operations and hold the business at ransom.

Even after recovery, a cyberattack may have lasting effects on a business due to a loss of reputation and trust. This is especially severe when a company is responsible for sensitive customer or client files.

After Being Hacked — Now What?
In the aftermath of an attack, here’s how to deal with hackers and security breaches:

  1. Have Your Incident Response Team Ready
    These are your company’s first responders and proper planning is the key to knowing how to react when the worst happens. An incident response team will be trained in dealing with your business’s unique security breach.
  2. Identify the Details of the Attack
    First, verify the attack. Identify which systems have been compromised, determining which IP addresses were used in the attack, and confirming the type of attack your company is facing—whether a virus, malware, unauthorized remote access, or something else.
  3. Respond Extremely Fast
    By this step, you have identified what’s been hacked and how to respond. Notify users of the network immediately to help stop the spread. Responding quickly is critical to stop any further attacks.
  4. Determine the Affected Computers and Servers
    While the knee-jerk reaction may be to shut down all servers or networks, by doing so you could cause more damage and disrupt operations on an even larger scale. Instead, your incident response team should block the “infected” networks, identify and investigate the damage done, and check for backdoors which may give hackers future access to your system.
  5. Do a Comprehensive Clean Up and Restore
    Prioritize the servers and networks you will clean and restore according to importance. Once clean, reinstall your most recent clean backup and change passwords for all impacted systems as well as all company passwords.
  6. Take Preventive Steps Immediately
    After an attack happens, and normal security levels have been restored, begin immediately preparing for potential future attacks. Prevention is key to stopping breaches before they happen. As such, it’s vital you solve the issue that caused the breach to happen in the first place. Then, implement measures to avoid a repeat. These include performing a security audit and requiring security training for all employees.

When a company is hacked, it can be very disruptive. However, it’s vital to move forward from the cyberattack calmly and securely. Many companies have faced the same fate. In fact, you might even know of a security company hacked before. The best plan of action is to be more proactive about online security.

Fortify your defenses by learning as much as you can from the attack and using this information to create an updated and improved security plan. Educate your employees, invest in better software, and establish a response team.

VAZATA’s response professionals brings unique skill sets shaped by backgrounds in cybersecurity. They will work closely with you in a responsive, supportive manner to understand your needs and safeguard your business year round.

Get help from a trusted source such as VAZATA to recover and restore from the cyberattack. VAZATA’s Cybernetic Cybersecurity is the sure way to protect your organization from cybercrime.