Discovering your business has been broken into is a shocking and fearful event that can leave you feeling lost and vulnerable in the days ahead. The exact same feelings are felt when you’ve experienced computer hacking. It comes with more uncertainty and vulnerability because you may not fully understand how it happened, what information was taken, how it will be used, and how to prevent it from happening again. Learn exactly what to do when your computer is hacked.
What To Do When Your Computer is Hacked
If you are curious what to do when your computer is hacked, it’s important to act quickly to minimize the damage and prevent any additional problems. Here are some steps you can take:
- Disconnect your computer from the internet: The first thing you should do is disconnect your computer from the internet to prevent the hacker from accessing any more of your data. This can be done by unplugging your Ethernet cable or turning off your Wi-Fi.
- Change your passwords: Change your passwords for all of your accounts that have been compromised, especially your email and banking accounts. Make sure to use strong and unique passwords, and avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. A password like Qz!89iz23pJ is much better than one like Thisis@Password.
- Scan your computer for malware: Use an antivirus program to scan your computer for malware or any other malicious software. If the scan detects any threats, remove them as quickly as possible.
- Update your software: Make sure that all your software, especially your operating system, is up to date with the latest security patches. This will help to prevent future attacks.
- Restore your system from a backup: If you have a backup of your system, restore it to a point before the hack occurred. This will help to remove any malware or other malicious software that may have been installed on your computer.
- Notify your bank and credit card companies: If your financial information has been compromised, notify your bank and credit card companies immediately so they can monitor your accounts for potential fraudulent activity.
- Contact a professional: If you’re unsure about how to proceed, or if the hack has caused significant damage, it may be best to contact a professional cybersecurity expert or IT support company to assist you in resolving the issue.
Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Make sure to take precautions to protect your computer from being hacked in the first place, such as using strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and being cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments.
Make Your Business Unattractive to Computer Hacking
When you solicit help from a professional managed service provider (MSP), they have the tools and tactics available to make you an unattractive target for hackers. Someone looking at your business as a potential victim would 99.9% of the time move on because an MSP would create a hard perimeter for them to penetrate, and more than likely you are not a big dollar target for them.
No one can guarantee that your computers are 100% safe. If a hacker can get into the CIA systems – nobody is safe. Just like securing your physical business premises, there are things you can do to deter and prevent a breach.
The Big Risk You Can’t Stop
The majority of the time, computer hacking happens because an employee accidentally fell for a phishing email sent by a hacker and basically, opened the door wide open for them. This happens to even the most vigilant of employees as hackers get more creative in making their emails look “authentic” and tricking employees into clicking on malicious links. There is no way to stop that but an MSP, like Sabre IT Solutions, has a lot of things they can do to try to keep the damage to a minimum if that happens.
Computer Hacking is Like a Business Break-in
When it comes to business security, there are measures we all take in one form or another to protect ourselves depending on our security level comfort:
- You could just leave doors and windows unlocked and take your chances
- You can make sure you lock the doors with the “basic” locks
- You can get the extra fancy locks on your doors and the high-security keys
- You can put bars on the windows
- You can get a professional company (like ADT) to install a security system
- You can get a fence and gate for your business
- You can hire live security to be onsite and on duty 24/7
An MSP Should do the Same Things to Keep You Safe from Computer Hacking:
- They put bars on your windows (patching constantly from Microsoft)
- They make sure you have extra good locks and a security system (using really good anti-virus software)
- They have backups of your valuables (having both cloud and on-site backups so if you are hacked, your data can be restored)
- They check the doors and windows a few times a week for tampering (look for weird login attempts etc.)
What you want to happen is that a possible hacker is going to look at your system and say, “this is annoying, it’s too hard, let’s move on” and move on to another easier target. These tactics harden the exterior of your IT systems and reduce your appeal to computer hacking because you just aren’t worth their time, so it protects you well from an attack.
It’s Only a Matter of Time That Someone Will be “Invited” into the Business
Now we’re going back to those phishing emails we talked about earlier. When an employee gets one and clicks on the link in the email, they are essentially inviting the hacker to enter your system and basically open the door wide for them to access everything in your network. There are other ways computer hacking happens too. For example, we’ve seen employees find a USB stick in the parking lot and bring it into the office, and without thinking, plug it into the office computer to see what’s on it. They have now unknowingly opened the door.
Because phishing emails are the most common ways to get the door open, we’ll concentrate on that. Hackers send millions of these emails every day hoping someone will fall for one of them. Some are very obviously fake, while others seem like very legitimate emails. This is where only so much can be done to protect yourself from computer hacking.
The techniques the hackers use change frequently. You can think of it as having a bunch of skeleton keys that they try on locks. If the key works, they get in. The more the user allows them to try, the worse it is. An MSP should be constantly “changing the locks” for you which can prevent most of the “easy” hacks and spare your system from computer hacking.
There are Things that Can Still Help Once the Intruder has Opened the Door
There are a lot of ways that you simply cannot stop your system from computer hacking and eventually a hacker gets by the “locks.” Once they are inside and past the doors, with bars on the windows, and they really didn’t have to pry the door open in the first place, they will be harder to detect and find. Luckily, most of them don’t expect anyone to be looking for them.
Believe it or not, it’s best if the computer hacking immediately starts. When a hacker starts to cause damage, they can be detected and rid of as fast as possible. We have had this happen a couple of times a year to local companies, and the computer hackers have never succeeded in getting any ransom money from our customers in the 20+ years that we’ve been in business because they’ve been detected, and actions were taken to stop them.
There is still a 5% chance the computer hacker isn’t your basic hacker, is more skilled and professional, and has the ability to stay hidden. If the hacking doesn’t start immediately, it will be tougher to stop.
What About the 5%
The computer hackers included in the 5% range are really good at hiding and are hard to detect and find. This is the equivalent of an intruder being in your business, being stealthy with the desire to cause pain and harm. They will quietly shut off the motion detectors, sneak around and collect all the valuables, put some bombs in strategic locations…and then when they’re ready, they’ll detonate those bombs and blow the whole place up along with all the defenses that were disabled by them. This ends up being a really bad situation.
Then the fun really begins…when you’re scrambling to find out what happened and not realizing it was a computer hacking, you get sent a ransom demand with the promise of resetting everything back to how it was prior to the hack at a steep price.
We have had frantic calls from prospective companies who have had this happen and are looking for help. Believe it or not – about 75% of the time companies that actually pay the ransom, do get some of their stuff back. In fact, the hacker can be quite “professional” in helping them after they’ve been paid. To the hacker, it’s just a normal business transaction. We’ve talked to other potential customers who are still struggling to get back to where they were prior to a hacking years ago. So, I guess one way or another, it’s going to cost a lot of money, either in ransom form or payroll to use manpower to try to restore and manually re-enter lost data.
In 20 Years, This has Never Happened to a Sabre IT Customer
Sabre IT Solutions provides you with an “ADT” type of system for your IT. It uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect “unusual movement” inside your system. We monitor it 24/7 just like ADT and if the AI sees something, it sends the data to real humans who will either shut down the risky computer or clear it as a false alarm. This could happen anytime – 3 am on a Sunday or 1 pm on a Tuesday. Just like ADT, immediate detection and action are key to minimizing damage from computer hacking.
Don’t Put Off Securing Your IT
We all get busy and pulled in different directions. Most think a computer hacking won’t happen to them because they just aren’t that interesting or have information that a hacker would want. Without taking stock of your vulnerabilities and instead focusing on matters you deem more urgent to your business, you are essentially leaving the front door wide open for a computer hacker to stroll on in and do as they please. Now you know some steps for what to do when your computer is hacked.
The best way to deal with a computer hacker is to be proactive and not reactive. Sabre IT can help perform a detailed audit of your security, show you where your vulnerabilities lie and provide iron bars around your IT systems to prevent computer hackers from helping themselves to your system. Give us a call at 226-336-6259 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org today for a free consultation.