Some of the largest corporations and social media giants have experienced data breaches impacting millions or billions of customers. Data scraping, data leaks, security vulnerabilities, and hacking have led to massive exposure of personal information. In some cases, data breaches lead to phishing attacks, identity theft, and even blackmail. One surefire way to protect users is to keep sensitive data offline. However, in this age of business at the speed of thought and social media dominance, more information is exchanged online than ever before. Here are four immediate signs your company has experienced a data breach.
1- User Activity
For many workers, business as usual includes recurring digital activities, which follow similar daily or weekly patterns. Changes in user activities and access to accounts from different or unusual IP addresses may indicate a data breach. Worker roles and responsibilities are usually assigned or chosen based on the expectations of a particular position. If a worker begins accessing internal data not related to job responsibilities, a company may investigate whether internal computer systems have been infected by malware. Carefully tracking user activity is essential to protecting a company from hackers.
2- File Changes
Often data breaches happen quickly. It’s important for companies to implement ongoing monitoring of systems to determine if unusual changes to critical files occur. Unusual modification or deletion of data files is a clear indication of a breach. For large organizations, hiring cybersecurity experts to identify unusual file changes and track these activities to prevent data loss is crucial for protecting employees and customers. In some cases, hackers may even replace files to delay alerting network security of the breach.
3- Slow Network
If a computer network is running slowly, it’s possible that a malicious program is accessing important data in the background. Bad actors use these programs to transfer large sums of data, causing a system-wide impact on computer operations. It’s a warning sign to immediately investigate and determine if your company’s computer systems have been breached. Slow networks are commonly caused by bandwidth overload, which causes network congestion. In these cases, more data is requested than the network can effectively route. The resulting delays are frustrating as employee computers begin operating slowly. If your company has enough bandwidth to handle its usual load, the network issues may be a result of a data breach.
If a hacker gains access to login information, he may attempt to access multiple accounts. Noticing excessive and unusual login attempts is usually a sign that your systems have been breached. It is especially suspicious if network activity is increasing from unusual places outside of the country. Foreign hackers often mask locations but an experienced security professional can identify unusual login activity.
Hackers are persistent and use multiple techniques to attempt to access company systems. Whether you are a business owner or network security professional, identifying data breaches quickly is essential to protect sensitive information. By setting up practical and effective prevention protocols, such as two-factor authentication and encryption, you may help keep your sensitive business data safe.