How to Handle a Cyber Attack

Every 39 seconds, a cyber attack takes place. With a steady upwards trend, it’s crucial that you know what a cyber attack is and how to identify when it is happening. Put simply, a cyber attack is an unwelcome attempt to steal, expose, alter, disable, or destroy information through unauthorized access to computer systems. Sixty percent of small companies go out of business within six months of falling victim to a data breach or cyber attack. 

Cybersecurity Ventures predicts global cybercrime costs will grow by 15 percent per year over the next five years, reaching $10.5 trillion USD annually by 2025, up from $3 trillion USD in 2015. This represents the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history.

Given the economic and security-related impacts of these attacks, it is crucial that you have measures in place to identify and stop suspicious activity, no matter the size of your business. 

Here’s how businesses can be proactive about reducing cyber attacks: 

  1. Develop cybersecurity policies 
  2. Implement security awareness training with employees 
  3. Install every computer with spam filters and anti-malware software

Before you can deal with a cyber attack, the first step is recognizing that it's happening. Here are a few signs that a cyber attack may be in the works: 

  1. You can no longer access your files
  2. Emails are being sent from your name without your knowledge
  3. Unusual password activity
  4. Suspicious pop-ops 
  5. The network is operating slower than normal 
  6. If you have clicked a link in any phishing email 
  7. Alerts from your antivirus 

If any of the above things are happening, it's crucial that you take your computer to your IT person and let them know what’s happening. 

As for the IT department, if you have identified that your company is under a cyber attack, spend some time searching the logs for attacks.  

(Tip: Make sure your company has a good logging capability! System logs are designed to provide relevant information that allows you to understand and identify issues that become threats to your network.

If you are interested in knowing about the attack, specifically what information has been compromised, observe the attackers until you know what they are doing and what damage has been done, so you can attempt to undo it. 

To eradicate the attacker, wipe or restore from known good backups all computers that were compromised. Other steps you can take include disconnecting your internet, changing all of your passwords, and installing new security updates to your computer. 

Communication is critical when it comes to recovering from a data breach. Be sure to notify your employees, your cyber liability insurance carrier, and your customers. 

If you are a victim of online crime, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Compliant Center (IC3) at IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).

No matter the case, it’s important that you proactively have cybersecurity measures in place. Cybersecurity is essential in protecting the data and integrity of all of the important assets connected to an organization. It protects your business from unauthorized access or exposure to data that could result in negative consequences. 

As cyber attacks get more sophisticated, businesses need to stay one step ahead with their cybersecurity. At In Time Tec, we work closely with your internal security teams to protect and monitor your data so you can relax knowing that everything is taken care of.