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9 Signs Your Network Has Been Hacked

Updated: May 30, 2022

Hacking into networks is now very popular, and the scale and extent of such attacks is rising every year. In the last 12 months, 39% of UK businesses experienced cyber security breaches or attacks, of which 27% encounter them on a weekly basis. Additionally, an estimated 38% of UK and US firms lost business due to security issues.

When it comes to orchestrating threats, cybercriminals have a range of objectives. They may be looking for useful knowledge to trade on the black market, or they may be hoping to seriously destroy a company's image, causing damage that takes months to fix and is outrageously expensive.  Some hackers even rely on publicity as well, whether it leads to increased attention by other criminals or results in their dirty deeds making the front pages of newspapers.

Knowing the symptoms of danger is the first step in preventing network attacks. The following are indications that a hacker has gained access to your database.

  1. Irregular Login Patterns

It's impossible to rely on a single symbol when there are hundreds of methods hackers can use. The most popular method of hacking is credential theft. Keep an eye out for unusual login behaviour, such as entry at unusual times or from unusual locations, or several unsuccessful login attempts. Most importantly, in order to prevent being compromised, businesses can implement the use of two-factor authentication.

  1. Ransomware Messages

Messages of ransomware can be displayed on the front page of sites to prevent users from accessing content until they pay a fee via an online purchase. This type of cyberattack don't always result from an employee visiting a compromised domain - often times issues arise when an individual opens an email that redirects them to a malicious website or download infected files.  They frequently appear authentic, so recipients are inclined to follow the instructions in the text. Hackers then infect the person's computer with malware, gaining access to the corporate network. 

Ransomware attacks have risen in frequency in the UK since February 2021, affecting schools, colleges, and universities. People would be surprised to learn that the majority of the victims from that year pay the fines.  Ransomware is responsible for billions of pounds in lost productivity and ransom payments. It has taken down small and large companies, as well as police departments, hospitals, and schools. Paying the ransom would not guarantee that the devices will run. If you do need to repair your infrastructure, make sure you have checked data backup/recovery procedures in place. 

  1. Devices Operating Alone

Another indication of hacking is where the cursor begins to move on its own or if it seems that an other entity is in charge, usually referred to as a remote desktop hack. Since it's clear that something is wrong and the infrastructure isn't safe, such an intrusion can be alarming for everyone involved. Your business must do everything possible to ensure that your infrastructure and network are safe and stable against hackers. A Remote Desktop (RDP) Protocol is a popular business solution for this method of hacking -  with companies ranging in size using RDP as often as daily. Given the preference for Windows machines in most sectors, RDP is a widely used method for many companies and comes pre-installed in Windows devices. However, it also comes with a number of risks, which are discussed here.

  1. Attempts to Interact with the Domain

Hacking will show up in a variety of ways, from irregular outbound messages to abnormal database searches. Increased attempts to communicate with a domain account for which several password retries have been logged are usually the first warning. A good place to start is by using multifactor authentication, and external penetration testing to find vulnerabilities in the data services. 

  1. Receiving Unusual Emails Disguised as a Genuine Account

A network problem may start when people on a victim's contact list receive strange emails. These frequently contain attachments which enable hackers to harm users who engage with them. Such hacker messages can also be spread via team collaboration channels.

Someone with a compromised account can unintentionally send messages containing files, and convincingly urge colleagues to interact using phrases like "download this report". The breach then becomes more widespread if anyone takes the bait and download the file. In believing the viral attachment contains important information, they consent to transmit malware to the whole network.

  1. Peculiar Messages from ‘Business Contacts’

You might receive unusual messages from company "contacts" that are really spear phishing attempts, as well as a slew of warnings. Though they might be warning signals, it's too late by then. Preventing threats should be the priority. Employees can be regularly trained and reminded of better practises, since recycling passwords and falling into phishing scams are also very prevalent problems.

  1. File Encryption

Another kind of ransomware attack may not involve the messages described earlier. It involves hackers encrypting files, barring access to them until victims pay the requested amounts of money. Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible for everyday individuals to detect encrypted files until they click on them and cannot open them. Therefore, it’s crucial to take proactive safeguards against malware issues. Performing a regular anti-virus check is useful, provided the related software is updated to ensure new malware variants are identified. It's also a good idea to keep important files in different locations. You should back up files on USB drives as well as in a cloud-based application. If hackers restrict access to files in one area, diligent individuals can still access from other locations.

  1. Redirects

Data infiltration may cause browsers to redirect somewhere other than the usual homepage or visit odd sites should someone attempt to use the internet. Caused by a redirect virus, infections like this tend to appear on computers if downloaded with other software or unwanted browser extensions are inserted. In fact, several pages that appear on a screen are identical to the real sites because of this issue. The colour theme and fonts may be similar, as hackers try to trick inattentive users.

A different type of redirect virus appears displays ads instead of real content when you click on an authentic page.

  1. Suspicious Emails

Research suggests that phishing attacks are responsible for over 80% of phishing incidents.  Employees should stay alert to ensure the company's security, so frequent staff training is mandatory. If you prefer to save money on training programs, outsourcing an IT company is the best choice. 

Worried that your company may be experiencing a cyber attack? To find out more about how Elite Cloud Solutions can protect you with the latest cybersecurity measures, contact us today or read more here.

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