It seems that as data security becomes more advanced, so does hackers’ expertise. Thus, in any type of company or business, data security needs constant monitoring to prevent an attack.
However, hackers are not going to announce their presence, and it is all too possible for them to slip by without you even noticing. Thus, if you see these signs, there might be an ongoing data breach right under your nose.
1. Suspicious files
Constant and real-time security detection software, such as a vulnerability management tracking tool, can alert you of suspicious files that are possibly malware. If you don’t have this type of software, take the time to investigate suspicious files that your anti-virus detects.
2. File changes
Detecting critical file changes can be difficult, especially for companies with large and complex IT infrastructures. However, detection of unusual file changes is one of the best ways to stop a data breach in its tracks–or at least slow it down for the time being.
If there are suspicious changes, replacement, or deletion of vital system files, work on delaying or stopping the breach right away. Better yet, actively monitor your critical file changes to spot any unusual activity as soon as they occur.
3. Unusual program behavior
A program that is behaving unusually can be due to a software or hardware issue. However, it could also be a sign of a data breach. Don’t take the risk–investigate the unusually behaving program and look for other irregularities in the system.
4. Reduced speed
When a system is burdened with malware or increased outbound traffic, it can cause a slowdown in your Internet or devices. Of course, reduced speed can mean other things, but consider the possibility of a data breach first and foremost.
5. Locked accounts
User accounts that are suddenly locked is an obvious sign of a data breach in progress. Cybercriminals do this to make it difficult for you to stop their activities, perhaps even to hold your data hostage. To avoid hackers from gaining access to user accounts and locking them, use multi-factor authentication, and have employees change passwords routinely.
6. Unusual system communication
If you notice that one computer transferring unusually large amounts of data outside of your company’s network or accessing other employees’ workstations, you could have a data breach in your hands. If this happens, isolate the compromised computer and try to stop its communication processes.
7. Strange computer behavior
A computer that has been breached might start acting strangely. There might be unusual pop-ups appearing, new toolbars or programs installed, the mouse moving by itself, or the computer shutting down without warning. If this happens, advise employees to leave the computer alone and have IT take control. If they try to close pop-ups or try to take back control, they can help the hacker do more damage.
Cyberattacks are commonplace nowadays, both for big and small companies. And sometimes, hackers are so good at what they do that you won’t even detect a data breach before it’s already in progress. Hence, if you see these signs of an ongoing data breach, address the problem as soon as possible and take measures to prevent it from happening again.