October is Cyber Security Month, so it is the perfect opportunity to discuss some of the signs of a cyber threat to your business. There are several types of cyber-attack, including phishing, malware, and Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks. You can check out how to protect your business in our other blog post here.
What are the signs of a cyber threat?
A cyber threat can come in many forms. From unusual behaviour on the server to the makings of an ‘inside job’, it is important to be alert to the different ways your company could be infiltrated. There are many of avenues in which attacks can occur, from email, ad-based malware, and mouse hovering, to external and removeable media.
In this article, we will cover a few of the signs of a cyber threat, so you can prevent them from breaching your security.
Phishing and Spoof emails
Scammers are getting smarter these days, and their emails are becoming slicker in deceiving even the techiest of people. In recent years, there has been an increase in cyber-attacks via email coming through business accounts. These emails are usually ‘spoofed’ from a manager’s email address or client, which makes the user more likely to click them. These emails usually contain a virus or a request for information, such as bank details or requesting the opening of a file. Some of these are obvious, especially when they do not address you by name.
But as they get more sophisticated, these emails are starting to pass through the normal security checks, as they seem to be from your network. One way to combat this is to make sure that your staff have awareness training in scams and cyber threats, to reduce the chance that they will be caught out. They will be more prepared for this type of cyber threat.
The fact that your employees are getting spoofed emails indicates that cyber attackers have their sights on you and are perhaps testing your security by sending these emails, whilst also attempting to make quick money from an unsuspecting employee.
Unauthorized insiders trying to access data
When cyber attackers within your organisation are working from the inside, this is known as an ‘insider threat’. Individuals who partake in this behaviour could be disgruntled employees who will take advantage of their knowledge of the business. One way to stop this behaviour is by applying permissions to certain users within the organisation. Making sure that the only the people who need to see sensitive information see it and locking out others from certain data will help protect against an insider threat.
It is a good idea to keep an eye on your files. Particularly on desktops, be aware of any new files that appear on your screen. They could have been put there as part of a hacking attempt. This is a tactic often used by hackers who have already infiltrated your system; they will implant a suspicious looking file on your desktop, knowing full well that you will click it because, well, you don’t recognise it and you want to know what’s inside. Hackers play psychological tricks like this because they know it will work.
Changes in traffic statistics
Another sign that your company could be on the verge of a cyber-attack, is if there is any abnormal change in network traffic. Whether this be an increased surge or traffic is being sent to and from unknown locations, keeping an eye on any changes is vital to protect your company from a cyber-attack. Excessive consumption and changes in configuration are also an indicator that something is not right.
How do I respond to a cyber-attack?
The important thing to remember is not to panic – freaking out will only make the situation worse. Sometimes waiting and watching what the attackers are doing is beneficial, as it will be easier to track them later (because you can gather more information on them). Just don’t leave it too long, especially if it is a quicker and more dangerous form of attack.
You need to make sure your company has developed a response strategy to cyber-attacks. Running test drills to familiarize all staff is a good idea, because everyone is prepped in the event of an attack. It must be a team approach.
In the first stages, make sure your team run an antivirus scan as soon as possible. In the case of an email attack, tell all your contacts not to open compromised emails. Make sure you disconnect the computer from the internet and unplug the router as quickly as possible.
Cyber threats have become a part of our lives, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fight back and protect our data. Investing in technology is one step towards becoming a more secure company, giving you piece of mind about the safety of your data and accounts.