What To Do When You’ve Been Hacked?

It’s a moment that can make your stomach drop faster than the word “audit”—the moment when you realize that your network system has been hacked.  Unfortunately, with the way the current world of cybercrimes is going, the odds of experiencing such a hack are becoming more likely.  With this in mind, it is imperative that you know exactly how to deal with a hack attack on your system.  Having a plan in place ahead of time will prevent fumbling and confusion in the event that a hack does take place.

  • The first major step is to bring together all of the members of the IT department to determine exactly what has happened.  It may be necessary to hire an outside company to do an analysis of your network system to determine the cause of the breach.   Whether you work in house or with a cyber security expert , it is absolutely necessary to get an idea of what has happened so you can determine how to proceed.
  • Once the breach has been assessed, determine if there has been an actual loss to the company (either data or monetary losses).  If this is the case, then you need to alert the proper authorities so that the appropriate legal action can be taken.
  • Next up, you need to repair whatever hole in your security allowed the hacker to gain access to your network.  If other issues are revealed as you go, fix them as well, but definitely make sure that the original point of entry is closed so that a similar hack can never happen gain.
  • After you have fixed the holes in your system, take care of a few maintenance issues.  Change all of the system passwords as those will have probably been compromised.  If data has been lost or corrupted, restore these from the most recent system backup.
  • Once you have updated your passwords and data, sit down with the IT department to take stock of what has happened.  Discuss ways that this can be fixed so that it never happens again.  Also, discuss other possible areas of vulnerability in the network that may need to be addressed.  The idea here is to not lay blame on any one individual, but instead to think outside of the box and look at multiple possible solutions to ensure the safety of the network.
  • If customer data, such as individual passwords or credit card numbers, were compromised in the breach, it will also be necessary to communicate this aspect with your clients to alert them of what has been done and what they should do to prevent monetary losses or identity theft.
  • Finally, run a full scan of your network to ensure that the new security measures you have put in place are working.  Make sure that everything is going smoothly and that any problem areas can be taken care of now before another attack occurs (because again, unfortunately, the chances are high that there will be another attempt to attack your system).

Getting hacked may feel like a disaster equivalent to the end of the world, but it doesn’t have to be.  Simply follow these guidelines and you will ensure that you can take care of the damage done and prevent any future attacks from occurring.

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