I’ve been hacked! Now what?

| March 22, 2018

In the last few articles in this series on cybercrime I’ve explained that unfortunately cybercrime is something that every business has, or is going to be a victim of, and also briefly outlined some common hacking techniques. So what steps should you undertake once you’ve been hacked?

Minimise damage

This should be the very first step once you’ve discovered you’ve been hacked. Some common things to check are

Passwords. Reset all your passwords and ensure they are strong passwords with a combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. Also, don’t use passwords with personal information such as date of birth as personal information is also used as authentication and could be used of another hacking attack.

Check all bank and shopping accounts (e.g. PayPal, eBay, etc) account statements. Look at your Ban, PayPal, eBay and other online statements for unknown withdrawals but also check for details such as new shipping addresses, payment methods or linked accounts. If there is anything unusual cancel the account or credit card.

Check accounts that are connected. You eBay account might be connected to your PayPal account, or your WooCommerce account connected to your bank account of accounting system. Facebook IDs are often used to login to other applications so deauthorise those connections.

Two factor authentications. Enable to factor authentication for all accounts that have this facility. Some apps are making this mandatory such as Xero and most banking apps.

Tell your family, friends, and contacts. Do this for two reasons – firstly to minimise the chance of them becoming a third-party victim to your hacking attack, and secondly to educate them to defeat hacking.

Update your software. Don’t you get fed up with the constant need to update your phone, PC or website? I large number of hacks target vulnerabilities in the outdated software on your devices. Updates also have the latest security patches. Set your device up to automatically get the updates at a time that will inconvenience you the least – like 3am.

Recover your accounts. Most social media platforms have guides that show you how to regain control of your account.

Update your antivirus product. No matter how good your anti-virus system is they are useless if the virus definitions are out-of-date. Again, checking the virus definitions up-to-date can be automated so it is done at a time that will inconvenience you the least.

The above are all after the ‘horse has bolted’ techniques and after you’ve been hacked but what should you do to minimise the risk of your business being hacked?

Minimise risk

Anti-virus software – installed and with current virus definitions on all business computers

Wi-Fi – make sure it is secure and hidden

Allow only authorised people to access your business’ devices, technology and files.

Backup your data, and do so regularly

Have a firewall on your server

Workplace and device hardening such as blocking USB access.  Some accounting firms and banks have this on all their computer devices as I found out when I went to give a presentation one day armed with the presentation on a USB stick

Train staff – and this is the best and most effective risk minimisation strategy

Prevention is always better than the cure and will therefore be the subject of the next article in this cybercrime series.