With cybercrimes predicted to cost the world a total of $10 trillion annually by 2025, securing your business has never been a higher priority. The pandemic has bolstered such statistics, with online attackers now setting their sights on those working from home with little to no security.
To stay vigilant and ensure the safety of your company, we’ve outlined the telltale signs that your business has been hacked and how to tackle such incidents (or avoid them altogether).
1. Suspicious online or network activity
The first, and often most obvious, indicator of a compromised system or device is unusual activity on your computer browser or company network.
While cybercriminals are typically known for nefarious tactics, many also rely on subtler, easier ways of exploiting their victims for financial gain. Redirecting your internet searches is one such common method, allowing the hacker to get paid for your clicks, often without the site owner’s knowledge.
In these incidents, bogus toolbars or programs are likely the culprit, so it’s important to perform regular check-ups of software installed on your device. If you spot any unfamiliar or unused applications, uninstall them right away.
Performing regular assessments of your network traffic is also critical in spotting any malicious connections. You may just find a portion of your traffic originating from an unknown source (or in some cases, a different country), helping you then take the necessary steps to block them.
2. Unrecognized software
Unusual installations are a huge and commonly overlooked warning sign of a security breach, both due to a lack of regular software checks and their ability to appear as harmless applications. Malware programs now have sophisticated methods of disguising themselves as legitimate programs, giving them the opportunity to claim themselves as an actual software company when legally caught.
Ensuring your devices are safe and clear of malware requires frequent assessments of installed software. Free tools such as Microsoft’s Process Explorer help you observe all the programs currently running on your computer, allowing you to selectively disable those you don’t need or recognize, or find suspicious.
3. Tampered security settings
Cybercriminals can easily break down defenses by breaching your device and disabling all firewalls, antivirus software, and ad blockers, making it easier for them to perform further damage without being detected.
Employees must therefore keep a close eye on their computers’ security settings, ensuring all necessary tools, software, and automatic updates are enabled. If any of these are continuously tampered with, it may be a sign your company has been hacked. In such situations, it’s recommended to back up your files and perform a system restore on all affected devices, as there’s often no telling what happened.
4. Unusual login attempts or compromised passwords