The internet’s one almighty boon for business.
You can target customers with ease, reach wider audiences with minimal budgets, and automate essential processes- to name just a few of the advantages involved. All told, the World Wide Web has become an indispensable tool for running an effective operation.
But it isn’t without its issues.
Indeed, almost a third of businesses suffer a cyberattack every year. And, as our reliance on the internet grows, the rate of these debilitating online attacks is only set to increase as well. Learning how to know if you’ve been hacked is a vital step to minimizing the damage they can cause.
It means you can spot a problem in the early stages and take action to resolve it. That leads to less downtime, financial fallout, and overall impact on business. Sound good?
Keep reading to discover the primary signs that your business has been hacked.
Unexpected Changes to Digital Files
Have you noticed any recent changes to the files saved on your computer network?
Whether they’ve been edited, updated, or deleted from the system, any unexpected alterations could be cause for concern.
Like a thief wiping their fingerprints from a crime scene, an internet hacker will sometimes change files to cover their tracks. They might have accessed your system, caused untold havoc and made critical changes to hide the evidence.
The bad news for business owners is that these changes can be difficult to identify.
After all, many modern organisations allow organisation-wide access to documents and allow real-time editing of them. Separating changes made during a data breach from regular operational alterations is no mean feat. Consider investing in technical infrastructure to help you do it.
Login Details Have Changed
Few things are more distressing than being unable to log into the accounts on your computer. You’ve used the same username and password for weeks/months without trouble. Now, all of a sudden, they’ve stopped working.
Needless to say, it’s another major red flag.
Someone could have hacked into the system and altered your login details. Having revoked your access, they’re free to run riot and/or hold your system to ransom.
Address the issue by contacting your IT support team and changing the password(s).
As always, though, prevention is better than cure. Instil best-practice for passwords across your organisation. Set up two-factor authentication, force employees to change their details at regular intervals, and ensure everybody uses complex passwords each time.
Unusual Financial Activity
Some hackers are out to cause nothing but frustration and disruption.
Yet most are after money. And, unfortunately, there’s a significant number of ways they can get access to it. One of the clearest signs of a hack is when your bottom line takes an unexpected hit.
Check your business statements for recent activity.
Can you see any random purchases, unexplained payments, and/or unexpected withdrawals? There’s every chance that you’ve suffered a cyberattack if so.
Change your passwords (especially to your internet banking), contact your bank, and be assiduous with monitoring your bank account in the future.
Spam Emails Are Being Sent Out
Be wary if friends, family, or colleagues inform you about random emails/messages they’ve received from your accounts. Why?
Because hackers are well-known to hijack them and send through malicious links to people in the address book. These unsuspecting recipients know you, which makes them more likely to open the email and/or click the link.
As people cotton onto the threat, though, they’re becoming more suspicious of these messages. Wary of being hacked, they might get in touch to double-check its validity before opening/clicking it.
Counter the issue by creating a new password for the affected account(s). You could also consider changing your email address if the problem persists.
The Computer Has Slowed Down
It’s true that all computers get slower as they age. The hardware gets outdated and the memory gets used up.
Be concerned if your laptop/desktop was running perfectly before, but suddenly decides to slow down though. There’s a chance that it’s been hacked and/or had malware installed onto it.
The same goes if your entire system starts suffering in the same way. Someone might have gained access and started transferring files elsewhere, or installed a virus that’s impacting its operation.
Report the issue to your IT support team if possible.
Suspicious/Strange Computer Activity
A hacked computer will often start doing strange things.
You might see the cursor start to move of its own accord on the screen. You might have random pop-ups appearing out of nowhere. Your files might not open, or your programs might not run.
You may notice inappropriate ads showing on the internet, antivirus warnings being displayed, or changes to your browser toolbar.
Any and all of the aforementioned issues are a clear sign that something’s not right. Even worse, you can easily make things worse by trying to rectify matters by yourself. Clicking links, closing pop-ups, or following on-screen instructions can all feed into traps laid by the hacker.
Once again, it’s best to let IT professionals investigate and try to resolve the problem.
Mysterious Software Installations
Have you noticed any unexplained new software that’s appeared on your computer?
Well, it’s another clear indication that you’ve suffered a cyberattack. After all, software programmes generally require explicit consent to be installed. If you’ve not put it there, then somebody else has!
They might exert control over your system, modify what’s already in place, or incapacitate your anti-virus protection. With that out of the way, the floodgates can open to any number of additional malicious software.
Exactly How to Know if You’ve Been Hacked
Huge numbers of UK businesses suffer from cyberattacks every year.
The effects can be disastrous. Hacks can leach companies of cash, lead to debilitating downtime, and hamstring the entire operation.
Hopefully, this post has explained how to know if you’ve been hacked. With that information in mind, you should be in a better position to take swift remedial action.
Are you looking to protect your business from online attacks? Contact us today to see how we can help.
Peter has been in the Information Security world since 1999 and in IT in general since 1996. His work history contains a unique blended balance between the development of exceptional technical capabilities and business knowledge. Peter is a proud father of twins and enjoys GT endurance racing on the weekends.