How to Detect Hackers on Your Network: Warning Signs

If you've taken steps to secure your small to medium-sized business and guard against cyber threats – you're on the right track. Safeguarding your business systems and data from threats is one of the most important keys to keeping your business running and avoiding costly attacks that could halt operations. But using a set-it-and-forget-it approach in this area also poses a risk. How can you tell if something’s amok? In this blog post, we’ll tell you what to look out for and how to secure your business even further. 

7 Clues Your Network Has Been Hacked:

1. New Programs Installed 

When accepted procedures exist regarding new software installation, one telltale sign that your network has been hacked is that new, undocumented, and unapproved programs have been installed. These "shadow IT" resources can introduce vulnerabilities to your computing device, putting your users and intellectual property at risk.

How to monitor changes in your application and OS ecosystem:

  1. Restrict access to unapproved third-party applications

  2. Create a list of approved platforms and vendors for employee reference

  3. Implement network monitoring to detect unknown devices and potential threats

  4. Conduct regular data audits for a thorough sense of content created, shared, and stored

2. SPAM Is Being Sent Out

If spam email is being sent from one or more company computers or email addresses, you may have been hacked. When the email address is legitimate, many people mistakenly assume that the email itself must also be legitimate.

How to protect against SPAM

  1. Use a two-factor authentication tool that requires an additional set of login information from employees. These codes change frequently and make it more difficult for hackers to gain access to your information.

  2. Anti-spam solutions guard against more sophisticated types of phishing, such as spear-phishing and whaling. These solutions recognize false emails containing strange attachments but may have difficulties detecting emails from a compromised account.

  3. Educate and train employees on best practices - humans are busy and fallible creatures, so it's important for them to be on the lookout and recognize these types of scams before it's too late. Education is critical.

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. If you or your employees notice a considerable slowing down, reach out to your IT team so they can run a quick check and determine the cause. 

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. During the day, your employees may be so bogged down in work that they don't give a second thought to access requests. It's really important to prevent this behavior. By holding regular employee training and sharing security resources, you can help promote better cyber hygiene and prevent employees from responding on autopilot. 

5. Security Programs or Firewalls Have Been Uninstalled

One way to get around your organization’s firewall 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. It is essential to get your firewalls up and working asap since they have evolved to respond to a number of threats, including malware, application vulnerabilities, compliance obligations, risks associated with data breaches and loss, and an increasing desire for optimized network performance.

6. Change to Default Browser Home Page

When the default browser has been changed, web pages are 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. These are the tools you use every day, and you're the first person to notice any malicious changes. Give your virtual workspace a quick scan daily to make sure there haven't been any suspicious changes. 

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.

Need Some Help with IT and Cybersecurity?

At iCorps, we know how busy running a small to medium-sized business can be. Knowing what to look for, staying on top of potential hacks, and ensuring all other essential functions of your business are running smoothly isn't easy. We've made it our business to help your business adapt, scale, and streamline the technologies and systems you use every day and secure them from the ground up. 

Let us take the guesswork out of your business IT and cybersecurity needs. From fully outsourced IT, managed security, managed detection and response, and governance and compliance - we'll assess your entire IT infrastructure and develop plans and recommendations around your unique business. With almost 30 years of industry experience, 60 highly skilled consultants based in the US, and an expansive partner network, iCorps is not "just another IT firm."

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