Generally speaking, one of many business owners’ worst nightmares is being informed that their company has suffered a data breach.
Essentially, a data breach happens when cybercriminals have unauthorized access to a network or computer system to steal sensitive information such as the personal and financial information of the customers and users involved in your business. These can include names, email addressed, credit card numbers, bank accounts, usernames, passwords, and many more.
Moreover, due to the advancement of modern technology today, cybercriminals have also utilized some innovative ways to ensure data breaches are performed successfully. In such a case, businesses need to be aware of some common signs of data breaches to avoid dealing with potentially dire problems in the future.
Below are the four common signs of a data breach and what you must do to mitigate the risks associated with them:
- Locked User Accounts
One of the indicators of a data breach in progress is locked user accounts. When your users can’t suddenly access their accounts even with the use of the right username and password information, it can be a sign that their accounts have been compromised and a cybercriminal has already gained access to the information contained in it.
When this happens, you need to ensure all the users know what to do to handle this security issue. This can include coordinating with your internal IT support (information technology) team, who can review account access and initiate password changes of the locked accounts.
It can also be a good idea to use multi-factor authentication to provide added protection to all user accounts in your company. Additionally, you should ensure your IT department stays alert to monitor all the accounts closely for any signs of new activity.
- Device Tampering
Another sign of a data breach to look for is the evident device tampering. When your user finds out their device is running after turning it off, it can mean someone in your office has physically accessed and tampered with it or someone is in the progress of doing remote tampering.
Typically, when the device shows a sudden increase in the number of pop-up messages, suspicious browser toolbars, fake antivirus warnings, and many more, it can be an indicator that your device in the office has been tampered with. This means cybercriminals now have access to private and sensitive business data.
When your company is dealing with this data breach issue, the best thing to do is advise the affected users not to touch the devices until the IT team inspects and safeguards them against the risk of information theft and other issues. Also, get your backups ready to ensure all business data is safe and secure despite the breach.
On the other hand, if you think you need help in handling device tampering issues, then getting IT support or help from experienced professionals can be a good idea. Using their skills, experience, and expertise, they know exactly what to do to minimize the security risks caused by device tampering.
- Critical File Changes
When your organization has critical system files which aren’t monitored regularly, cybercriminals would undoubtedly do their best to gain unauthorized access and steal the information contained in them. For instance, when they already access your company’s network, they would change, alter, or replace files to ensure their attack remains undetected for an extended period.
That’s why if you or one of your users has noticed some negative critical file changes, it can be a clear sign of a data breach in your organization. In such a case, your business information may be compromised, and therefore, immediate action is needed to mitigate the risks.
To handle this cybersecurity issue, you should first identify what type of data was stolen. Let your IT team manage the problem and implement some advanced security protocols.
But since data breaches caused by negative critical file changes can be complicated, it can be one of the reasons why it’s best to outsource IT management solutions to external professionals. They have the expertise or technical ability to distinguish between positive and negative file changes and prevent further damage.
- Unusual Outbound Traffic
Another common sign of a data breach is when you notice unusual outbound traffic patterns within your network systems. Generally, having a high traffic volume can be due to cybercriminals accessing your applications and illegally transferring data from your networks.
When you notice unusual outbound traffic, it’s essential to contact your IT team as soon as possible to handle the issue. Let them check what data was breached so they know what security measures to enforce in your organization.
Also, you should update your passwords regularly to avoid unauthorized access. Lastly, you should closely monitor your traffic patterns, network systems, and user accounts to spot any indicators of suspicious activities to reduce the security risks.
Typically, there are many types of data breaches to be wary of. As such, it’s crucial to put some security protocols in place to protect sensitive business information and avoid adverse consequences in the long run.
Therefore, if you’re concerned about your organization’s data security, keep these common signs of a data breach in mind, and you’ll know what to do to minimize their effects to make your organization safe and secure.