How to Tell If Your Business IT Has Been Compromised
Businesses (both big and small) are often targets for corporate cybercrime and are often hacked due to the lack of a robust network security. It is difficult to stay on top of your network security, especially if you are a small business owner because it is difficult to find and gather the resources required for that task. If your business operates through a web application, this can ruin your reputation because it is the face of your business that has been compromised.
It is often easy to identify when a website or a web application has been compromised, but not always. According to a 2016 M-Trends report from FireEye, the time from security compromise to discover has dropped to 99 days in 2016. Every attack is different and it’s important to recognize it on time. Here are some signs that cybercriminals may have compromised your business’ IT network, based on research at www.ScarlettCulture.com.
Signs of security breaches
1. Suspicious activity from executive accounts
Employees often don’t question activity from accounts of their senior business leaders. This is why hijacking email accounts of business executives and leveraging them is one of the best ways to get valuable information. For example, a company accountant gets an email from a CFO asking for a payment to a marketing firm. The mail is written in the same style and requests funds in amounts similar to other CFO’s requests. In order to protect your business from these phishing scams, your employees need to be suspicious of any potentially-fishy activity.
2. Ransomware message
A ransomware message is the most blatant sign that your business IT has been hacked. You’ll know when it occurs because your system will lock you out or you’ll receive a notification. This kind of attack can go in different ways – you pay the ransom and the hackers provide you the key to unlock your system or just ignore you. If you don’t want to pay the ransom, use the backups of your data to overhaul your network. In case you haven’t backed up your data, then you will need to pay and hope that the attackers will give you the key to unlock the system.
3. Unusual or increased network activity
If you notice increased or unusual network activity, this may be a sign that your business has been hacked. Hackers tend to leave traces if you know where to look for them. For example, if you notice sudden spikes in outbound DNS traffic, it can mean that botnets have infected your network. Also, a sign of hacking activities can be the appearance of large unknown files. A DoS (denial of service) attack can serve as a cover or distraction for a much deeper system penetration – while you deal with the primary security breach, the hackers are orchestrating a secondary one.
Use of privileged accounts during off-hours, mismatched system logs, unauthorized downloads, unsolicited webcam activity, large ICMP packets, and failed login attempts are all signs of potential security breaches.
How to protect your business IT
There various things that a business owner can do to protect their IT network and website from potential exposure. Add maintenance and security to your IT network, stay informed about the latest threats and what they’re targeting, tighten your network security, update your software, and strengthen access control by making strong usernames and passwords that are hard to guess. Also, use the SSL protocol to protect personal information between your database and website, backup your data regularly, and utilize malware scanning programs to detect unusual activity.
Having your business IT compromised happens, even though it is not a pleasant experience. This is why it is important to know how to identify a security breach, in order to maintain business continuity and minimize the damage.