Signs Your Network Has Been Hacked

Top 10 List: “You Know You’ve Been Hacked”

Are your computers at work running a bit slower than usual? Don’t chalk it up to a shortage of RAM or too many people accessing your network at once. It might be a sign you’ve been hacked. Here are the top 10 signs that your systems may be compromised:

10. Clients or co-workers get a spam message from your company email account. They assume it is a message you intentionally sent because they recognize the address, but it is not from you or your business and may include a harmful link.

9. Your firewall and security software were uninstalled. A hacker will often get into your system and immediately disable the firewall and security protections to make it easier to access whatever they want within your network.

8. A new program appears that you did not approve installation of. Hopefully you have a procedure in place that prevents staff from installing unapproved software. If that is the case, a new unapproved program may indicate a security breach. Ask your IT support team immediately if they’ve installed a new program.

7. Rogue software requests access to your computer. This is similar to number 8. If one of your staff is prompted to grant access to an unapproved program, you may have been hacked.

6. You see unapproved changes on your computer desktop. Did your default browser change? Is there suddenly a new toolbar? Are pages you regularly use redirected to unknown sites? If things seem out of the ordinary, it is possible you were hacked.

5. Abnormally slow computers, network, or internet. If things slow down suddenly, one of your workstations or your network may have been compromised. Malware and viruses often cause a slowdown.

4. Failed log-in attempts. If you receive a message stating “You typed in the wrong password,” in your email when you have not tried to access that program or are certain you typed the password correctly, then there is a chance someone else is trying. If your password was actually changed, you’ve been hacked.

3. Spikes in outbound DNS traffic. If your computer was taken over by a botnet, you will see a large surge in outbound DNS traffic as it searches for access to your servers. (Ask your IT consultant for help with this).

2. Your mouse cursor moves on its own. If your computer mouse starts to move between programs and make actual selections, it is not a freak occurrence. You’ve been hacked.

1. Files were added, removed, or modified without your knowledge. There are a number of programs that will email you a report of changes to files. If you get notice of unauthorized changes such as the insertion of new code, you may have been hacked.

According to a 2014 Symantec report, 60 percent of targeted cyber attacks are aimed at small and medium sized businesses just like yours. The attacks are costly, both in terms of dollars and reputation. To prevent any and all of the Top 10 Hacks above, your small business needs a solid cyber security plan and vigilance. Our team at M3 Technology Consultants can work with your company to protect it from cyber crime.

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