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What to do if you are a victim of cyber crime

Cyber crimes do happen. It’s not a pleasant thought, but it really could happen to you. Surveys have shown that the majority of businesses that fall victim to cyber crime thought their networks were secure enough to prevent an attack.

In this blog post we will discuss what you should do if you fall victim to a cyber criminal.

First, though, it’s best to give a quick refresher on some simple steps you can take that help to prevent an attack from happening in the first place.

1. Use powerful anti-virus software.

We have extensive experience with ESET and Sophos packages, both of which have a great track record of protecting devices and networks. The latest systems can be deployed on every device in your company, ensuring you’re protected wherever your staff work from, and whatever device they use.

2. Use a password manager.

Password managers securely store all your separate passwords. By ensuring you never use the same password for two accounts, password managers protect you in the eventuality of one of your online accounts being compromised.

3. Always apply security patches.

They may be frustrating, but the persistent update popups on your computer are important, especially if you handle sensitive data in your work. If updates are available, install them!

4. Regularly audit your systems.

For this to be most effective, you need a separate set of eyes to look over your network and systems for any vulnerabilities. As cybersecurity experts, we offer extensive audits to all our customers. This lets us identify and resolve security flaws and vulnerabilities before anyone else does.

So, what if the worst happens and you are hacked?

1. Create an air gap!

An air gap is the absence of any connection from a computer to the internet or any other computer. This ensures that the computer is unable to pass data to any other device.

To introduce an air gap, disconnect and detach any compromised device as soon as you become aware of the breach. It is crucial to isolate any impacted computers from the internet and from the rest of your network by introducing an air gap.

This is all about mitigating the impact and potential damage of a security breach. Almost all viruses, worms and ransomware attacks are designed to seek out and infect other devices on your network. Allowing this to happen can cause havoc with a network and can often bring a business to its knees.

2. Report immediately to your IT resource

Any cyber attack is a legitimate emergency for your business, so make sure your IT Support partners are aware as soon as possible. They will have specialist tools available to mitigate the impact of any breach.

In many cases, for example, we’ve been able to stop hackers in their tracks in real time. With the cost of an attack potentially running into the thousands, this is one of the most important steps you can take.

3. Change the passwords of any accounts you access from the compromised device

Do this from a different device!

If your PC has been compromised, the safest assumption you can make is that all your online accounts have been, or are about to be, hacked. Where possible, it’s therefore prudent to use a different computer to either suspend or change the passwords to each of your accounts.

4. If you feel any financial information or accounts may have been compromised, contact your bank immediately.

Don’t take any chances here, and act quickly! Most banks do have exceptionally secure websites, but it’s always possible that your account details have been hacked. The last thing you want when you’ve been attacked is to find that the hackers have got into your bank accounts or found credit card details saved on your computer.

So as soon as you’ve shut down any impacted device, freeze your accounts until you’re sure they haven’t been compromised. If you act quickly, banks and credit card companies can be incredibly helpful in preventing fraudulent spending. If you’re too late, however, it can prove exceptionally difficult to undo any damage done to your accounts.

5. Inform your contacts

This isn’t an easy conversation to have, but if you’ve been a victim of an attack it’s entirely possible that the hacker has gained access to your list of contacts.

It’s also possible that the cyber criminal behind the attack has found you on another victim’s contact list. In these cases, victims are often unaware that their network has been compromised, so it’s important to raise the alarm as quickly as possible.

6. Secure your network

You will likely need an external security expert, like Biscuit, to help with this step.

If your company has been victim to a cyber attack, you must find out how the attacker got in to your network in order to prevent it from happening again.

This often isn’t easy, or fast, but it’s absolutely crucial. Our experts can identify any flaw in your network security, helping to plug any holes before they’re exploited again.

If you’re ever the victim of a cyber attack, our hope is that this guide will help you stay calm and take the best steps to mitigate the impact.

If you’re interested in Biscuit’s cyber security services, get in touch with the team on 01924 241 281.