Network security is one of the most difficult things to stay on top of as a small business owner. You need to dedicate resources towards it to avoid getting hacked, but it’s often difficult to find those resources. Which means you may need help.
The advantage of working with an IT partner like Hogland is that we can take care of your network security needs without you having to lift a finger. And you never have to worry about it because you know we’re taking care of things for you. However, in the meantime, here are some signs that hackers may have breached your company’s network security.
1. Ransom Notice
But what if you don’t have backups of all your data? Well, that’s where things get a bit sticky. You may have to pay the ransom (although many network security experts advise against it) and hope the hackers give you your data back. However, there is no guarantee with this approach.
Again, with this one it’s not so much about knowing you have been hacked but about having the necessary disaster recovery procedures in place before a hack occurs.
2. Mysterious Activity from Executive Accounts
We tend to trust messages from higher ups at our companies, and we don’t tend to question activity in accounts of these senior leaders. But everyone at your company needs to do both.
Email phishing campaigns target your employees’ natural tendency to trust their superiors. One of the best ways to find information, steal money or cause general mayhem is by hijacking the email accounts of company executives and then leveraging those accounts.
It’s not hard to imagine someone in this scenario complying. If it was an email from a “Nigerian prince,” that’s another story. But this is a carefully crafted phishing campaign complete with insider information to lend credibility.
To protect your network, your employees need to be suspicious of any activity even remotely fishy. Account numbers don’t exactly add up? Call IT. Not familiar with the consulting firm the “CFO” wants to pay? Either contact the CFO or call IT.
3. Unusual Network Activity
Sudden spikes in outbound DNS traffic can mean your network is infected by botnets, which are infected systems that use DNS names to identify servers and also other bots. You may see a sudden spike in outbound DNS traffic as your infected system seeks out others to infect.
The appearance of large unknown files on your network can be a sign of hacking activities. As the hackers are gathering and exporting data, some of the files may be large enough that someone at your company notices them.
A denial of service (DoS) attack, which is bad enough on its own, may be the cover for a deeper penetration of your system. It’s the classic Hollywood we need a distraction moment. While you deal with your website shutting down, the hackers orchestrate a secondary security breach.
Other signs include off-hours use of privileged accounts (i.e., the account employees need logins to use), unauthorized downloads, mismatched system logs, failed login attempts, large ICMP packets (the protocol that network devices use to talk to each other) and unsolicited webcam activity (i.e., your webcam turns on even though you are not using it), among others.
Signs of Network Security Breaches
Other tactics such as email phishing campaigns or multi-layered attacks, meanwhile, have grown sophisticated enough that they are difficult to detect. But you can…if you know where to look. You just need IT professionals on your side who know what to look for and can pass that knowledge on to your employees.
If you have any questions about cybercrime or are looking for some help with your company’s network security, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
Our IT professionals can take network security out of your hands and set your mind at ease.
HOGLAND IT: 806.763.9525
Charlie Smith, 2021, 3 Signs Your Company Has Been Hacked, 2021, <https://avitusgroup.com/managed-it-services/biz/3-signs-your-company-has-been-hacked/>