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Suspect Your Computer Has Been Hacked? Do These 5 Things Now!

When you suspect that your computer or network has been compromised, it's natural to panic. However, the steps you take immediately after discovering a breach can mean the difference between a minor setback and a catastrophic event that could result in severe legal and financial consequences.

In today's discussion, we've gathered insights from our cybersecurity experts on how to identify a compromised system and the critical actions you should take to minimize damage.

Signs of a Compromised System

IBM's latest cybersecurity report reveals that the average data breach remains undetected for 277 days. Attacks can deploy malware, viruses, keylogging tools, and more, which can quickly inflict significant damage. Often, users overlook the early warning signs, failing to recognize an attack until the damage is irreversible.

Here are several key indicators that may suggest your system is compromised:

  • Slow computer or network performance
  • Frequent freezes or sudden crashes
  • Unexpected pop-ups
  • Locked user accounts
  • Unexpected changes to files
  • Abnormal system behavior, such as the device remaining active after shutdown
  • Unusual account activity

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Immediate Steps to Take

If you notice any of the above symptoms, your response can significantly influence the outcome. Here's what our cybersecurity team advises:

  1. Isolate the Network but Keep Systems Running

    Resist the urge to restart or shut down the device, as this can trigger malware processes that may lead to irreversible data loss. Instead, disconnect the device from the network while keeping it powered on.

  2. Contact Your IT Team Immediately

    Quick action is crucial. Your IT team can assess and contain the breach to prevent further damage. Avoid trying to resolve the issue yourself, as improper handling could exacerbate the situation.

  3. Consult Your Attorney

    Depending on the breach's scope, your attorney—or a recommended specialist in privacy and data security—can guide you through the necessary legal steps and help you comply with relevant laws.

  4. Secure Your Accounts by Changing Passwords

    Start by updating passwords, especially for accounts related to financial or sensitive information. Enable multifactor authentication if it's not already in place to enhance security.

  5. Monitor Your Financial Accounts

    Since financial gain is often the motive behind cyber-attacks, closely watch your bank and payment accounts for any unusual activity.

A comprehensive response plan is crucial if a data breach occurs. This plan includes a PR strategy, notifying law enforcement, and other pertinent steps to manage the situation effectively.

For businesses seeking robust cybersecurity support, consider starting with a FREE Cyber Security Risk Assessment. This evaluation is designed to identify vulnerabilities within your network and propose a tailored plan to enhance your defenses. It is much more cost-effective to prevent a cyber-attack than to fix one, so book your assessment today by clicking here or calling 802-331-1900.