How to Detect Hackers on Your Network: Warning Signs

You’ve implemented the firewalls and other security mechanisms, documented the policies and procedures, sent out the periodic reminders, and instituted the password policies, but it can still happen – your network could be hacked or hijacked. It can be hard to tell though - network connection can slow due to testing procedures, installing updates, or other functions. Here are seven clues that your network has been hacked:

Monitoring Network Performance

1. New Programs Have Been Installed 

When accepted procedures exist regarding new software installation, one telltale sign that your network has been hacked is that a new, undocumented, and unapproved program has been installed.

2. SPAM Is Being Sent Out

Another sign that your network has been hacked is the spam email being sent from one or more company computers or email addresses. Because the addresses are legitimate, many people mistakenly assume that the email itself must also be legitimate, although this can use up bandwidth, reduce productivity, and disrupt day-to-day operations.

Cyber Quicktips - Professional Grade Phishing

3. Unusual Increase in Network Activity 

An increase in network activity, even without spam emails, can indicate firewall hacking or bypassing. When someone infiltrates your network, they can use your available bandwidth, causing your Internet connection to become slower, and thereby preventing internal or external resources from performing their functions in a timely manner.

4. Programs Requesting Access 

Firewalls help restrict access to your network. But if someone in your organization is prompted to give an unknown program access to your network or other internal programs, then there’s a good chance that rogue software has been surreptitiously installed.

Cyber Quicktips - Firewalls

5. Security Programs or Firewalls Have Been Uninstalled

One way to get around your organization’s firewalls security is to uninstall it, which is another way to determine that you’ve been hacked. Once uninstalled, it becomes simple for that entity to access your network and do whatever they want.

6. Change to default browser home page

When the default browser has been changed, web pages being redirected, or a new toolbar has been unknowingly added to a browser, then you need to confirm whether or not you have been hacked.

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7. Computer functioning on its own

When employees don’t seem to be able to control their mouse or when the computer seems to be functioning on its own, then that is a definite sign that someone has been able to access that computer remotely, possibly trying to look at documents, install new software, or read email. The entire computer, including its data, is no longer secure.

With every tactic intended to prevent network and firewall hacking comes a new method that can circumvent it. While not all hacking attempts are meant to destroy information, they can still disrupt productivity, and at the very least, indicate that your network is not as secure as it could be. For more information about comprehensive firewall management, click here.  

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