A few generations ago, thieves broke into people’s houses to steal tangible things — electronics, jewelry, valuable pieces of art, and such. This generation of thieves (read hackers) are concerned with a more valuable treasure in the form of data, and they break into a different kind of house — your business networks.
In the past, it was easy to know when someone broke into your house — I mean the lock has been broken what else would come into mind? Hackers, however, break into your network and take their time to steal your business data, make transactions on your behalf and even lock you out of your network — hackers have such audacity, you must agree?
However, what is scary is that hackers can stay in your network for a long time without your knowledge. In unfortunate situations, businesses know they have been hacked when it is too late, which begs the question: how long does it take a company to detect a cyber-attack?
Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to how long it would take you to detect that you have been hacked. How sooner or later you will notice that you have been hacked is dependent on a few factors:
However, we can approximate the time it will take you from data available from businesses that have been hacked in the past.
IBM’s 2020 Data security report says that it took businesses up to nine months (precisely 280 days) to detect and contain a breach in 2020. Of course, some companies took longer, and others detected the breach earlier.
The Mandiant Security Effectiveness Report of 2020 claims that 58% of hackers penetrated the business network unnoticed, and 91% of cyber-attacks did not generate an alert. If the Mandiat report is anything to go by, companies need to up their cyber-attack detection strategies.
The report by IBM suggests that companies that detected the breach within the first 100 days saved up to 1 million dollars in containment costs. Therefore, as a business, it would help if you learn how to detect a cyber-attack and ways to protect your system against hackers.
Despite having unimaginable audacity, hackers are very quiet thieves. It also does not help that data cannot scream to alert you that it is being stolen. You are therefore left with the option of finding a way to detect a cyber-attack. Here are a few ways to help you know that a hacker is in your network:
Unexplained Activity in Your Network
Most cyber-attacks occur through your network. As such, when a hacker infiltrates your network, you may realize an increased activity in your network or an increase in the number of users of your network.
Additionally, if you experience an unexplained slow network, ensure that you conclusively investigate why your network is slowing down. When hackers infiltrate your system, they will actively use your network, trying to download data that may slow down your network.
Investigate Unusual Password Incidents
If one or more of your staff cannot log into your system using the passwords they have been using, you should carry out a network audit.
Other instances would be the system reporting that a user is logged into the system when they have not logged in or are out of the office, or when a user receives an email notifying them of a password change when they did not initiate the password change.
Regularly Test Your Network Security
Regularly hire an ethical hacker to try and penetrate your system to evaluate your network’s weak points. Hackers evaluate your system looking to find a loophole which they use to infiltrate your network. Red team and blue team activities may stumble upon a security breach which will help you to catch the hacker before they can do substantial damage.
However, it would be best if you were careful with selecting IT companies to evaluate your security network or inviting a malicious hacker into your system.
Use Automated Security
Cybersecurity Ventures project Cyber Crime will cost the world over $6 Trillion in 2021. The cybercrime research magazine further projects that going by the current trend, cybercrime will cost over 10 Trillion Dollars by the year 2025.
And that’s a scary statistic.
It gets worse. IBM Reports that the average cost of containing a breach was $3.86 Million in 2020. IBM obtained the data by evaluating 527 organizations from 17 different countries that experienced a cyber breach.
But the cost of cyber-attacks goes beyond the monetary implication. Here are other costs of cyber-attacks:
Confidential Information Leaks
Verizon reports that 24% of all cyberattacks in 2020 targeted financial institutions. In this age of the Internet of Things (IoT), once a hacker can access multiple platforms using a single password. Cybercriminals can use personal information to defraud unsuspecting clients.
Loss of Customer Confidence
Customers will be wary of interacting with your business in the fear that their information could leak. This could lead to them looking for other providers, and you can potentially lose many clients. The ripple effect is that you will experience reduced revenue and reduced business growth.
Once you report a cyber attack, your core business will be disrupted as you try to mitigate the effects of the cyber breach. Your staff, who would be working towards achieving your business goals, will stop to evaluate the source of the breach, answer numerous emails and phone calls from worried clients, write press releases to media houses, answer questions from cybercrime police, among other activities.
A Cyber Attack Can Run You Out of Business
According to Cybersecurity Ventures, more than 60% of small businesses close shop after a cyber-attack. The cost of containing the cyber breach, fines, loss of customers, among other costs of cyberattacks, can overwhelm your business. Additionally, Investors could also lose trust in your business and withdraw their investment.
Hackers constitute some of the best brains in the world. They are tech-savvy, and they might understand your data management system better than your best Information Technology technician. The distance between your business and a complete breach is your security system. The following suggestions will help protect your business:
Protect Your Hardware
Your business hardware contains a lot of business information. Think about the computers that your staff uses to enter data, the hard drives and flash drives you store data in, solid-state drives, among other data handling software.
Business hardware may contain client information, security log-ins to your cloud database, business transaction details, among other sensitive information. Your business will be at a high risk If this hardware falls into the wrong hands.
Ensure that your staff understands that they can only use business hardware for work purposes and by authorized personnel. This is important, especially during the work-at-home periods where staff has to operate business hardware away from the office.
Develop Cyber Security Strategy
A cybersecurity strategy is a plan that you put in place to avoid the possibility of attacks. When developing a cybersecurity strategy would help evaluate all possible threats and come up with mitigation strategies.
Developing a sound Cyber Security Strategy may prove a little tasking, but you can ask an experienced cybersecurity expert to help.
Invest in a Web Application Firewall
A Web Application Firewall (WAF) protects your servers from hackers. Think about WAF as a shield that hackers must pass before they reach your business data. Web Application Firewalls can be network-based, host-based, or cloud-based.
Regularly change Log-in Passwords
SemTech IT Solutions advises that you should have a regular schedule for changing passwords to critical business information. Regularly changing passwords blocks out a hacker who could have infiltrated your system. SEM TECH recommends that you should set reminders to all concerned staff for the password-changing activity.
Regardless of the size of your business, you should always ensure that your data is protected. Suppose cybercriminals do not use the information they steal from your business to harm your company directly. In that case, they may target your client’s data to commit crimes that range from impersonation, fraud, phishing, cyberstalking, among other harmful activities.
Do you run a business, and would you like experienced cybercrime professionals to help you secure your business data? SemTech IT Solutions has a team of experienced cybercrime professionals to help you evaluate your system’s security and help you fix the weak points.