How to Deal with Hackers: Detection and Action

November 30, 2020 | Article

While cybersecurity attacks on large companies are usually what makes the news, the fact is small and medium-sized businesses face the most attacks. In fact, they made up 43% of all breaches in 2019.

Considering the number of companies that have been hacked this year alone, it’s safe to say that cyberattacks are not a matter of “if,” but “when.” As such, having proper cyber crisis management strategies in your company is critical. This should include a plan of action when you have your business hacked.

With that in mind, here's a simple, step-by-step guide on how to deal with hackers.

Signs 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 threatscape, antimalware software provides little peace of mind. Even before system monitoring, network traffic detection, and other detection methods, companies should ensure their employees take steps to stay safe online.

What Happens When a Company Gets Hacked?
The impact of a cybersecurity breach can be very harmful as it affects many areas of a business. One of the main issues businesses have to handle is unplanned downtime. An attack could lead to a halt in operations, the duration of which is determined by the extent of the breach. This costs both time and money—a cybercriminal may even be hacking company software with the intent to cripple its operations and hold the business at ransom. For example, the damage related to cybercrime in the U.S. is projected to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021.

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.

My Network has been Hacked, Now What?
In the wake of an attack, here’s how to deal with hackers and security breaches:

1. Set up an Incident Response Team
While technically not a step you would undertake after the fact, proper planning is the key to knowing how to react when the worst happens. An incident response team will be your first responders when dealing with your business’s unique security breach.

2. Identify the Attack
The first thing you should do is verify the attack. This involves identifying 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 anything else.

3. Respond Quickly
By this step, you have identified the “network hacked, what to do next” problem. The statement “time is money” has never been more appropriate. You should notify users of the network immediately to help stop the spread. Responding quickly is imperative to stop any further attacks.

4. Isolate and Investigate 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. Clean and Restore
Prioritize the servers and networks you will clean and restore according to importance. Once clean, re-install your most recent clean backup and change passwords for all impacted systems.

Remember to change all company passwords, too.

6. Take Preventive Measures
After an attack happens, and normal security levels have been restored, start preparing for 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 breach happening again. These include hiring a security consultant, performing a security audit, and undergoing security training for all employees.

What’s Next?
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.

Implement Eide Bailly’s Incident Response Team
What to do if your server’s hacked? The answer isn’t always simple. As a result, getting help from someone you trust is key to recovering from the cyberattack.

Eide Bailly’s incident response professionals can handle it for you. Our team brings unique skill sets shaped by backgrounds in eDiscovery managementdigital forensic services, investigative techniques, and cybersecurity. Starting with our 24/7 data breach response hotline, we’ll work closely with you in a responsive, supportive manner to understand your needs and safeguard your business.

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