5 Steps to Respond to a Cyber Attack

Did you know a cyber attack occurs every 39 seconds? More alarmingly, over 40% of those attacks target small and midsize businesses (SMBs). If your company was recently hacked or if you suspect your business is vulnerable to a security breach, the consequences could be devastating. 

If an attack is successful, your business could suffer financial losses, reputational damage and legal consequences. With that in mind, you need to act fast in the event of a cyber attack or data breach. This might mean contacting an acclaimed cyber security company near you, or conducting computer forensics investigations. If you are not sure how to respond to a cyber attack, here are some steps to minimize the extent of your losses.

1. Stay calm

If a cyber attack happens, your first instinct would probably be to panic. But that won’t help in an emergency situation. Understand that cyber attacks are more prevalent than you think. It could happen to anyone. Your primary goal should be to create a roadmap for how to tackle the situation.

2. Form a response team

Ideally, you should have a cyber incident response team built in advance. But if you don’t already have a team, form one as soon as possible. Make sure your response team includes members from different departments. Obviously, the team should have tech specialists from your internal IT team, but also involve corporate affairs managers who have contact with government officials and PR representatives that handle the media. If you suspect that the breach could result in a lawsuit, consider including legal professionals in your team. You may also want to include your client service managers and HR professionals to help manage your client and customer communications.

2. Discover the cause and extent of the breach 

Once you have a response team, the next step is to identify the root cause of the breach. Also, find out what data systems have been compromised. At this point, you may need help from a cyber security company. Consider hiring professionals who specialize in malware analysis, data breach investigations and computer forensics investigations. Make sure the company uses the latest tools and technologies.

3. Control the scope of the damage

Once you know the cause and extent of the cyber attack, consider taking steps to contain it. This may include installing patches, resetting passwords, recalling emails, and blocking certain accounts and networks.

4. Notify all relevant parties and stakeholders

You should notify any internal and external players who might have been impacted by the breach. Be open and sincere in your communication. Include all of the details and what steps they should take to minimize the extent of the damage.

5. Take steps to prevent future attacks

Once you have neutralized the current attack, take immediate actions to prevent any future attacks. Start with a comprehensive network security assessment. Find weak points and develop a strategy for threat detection and cyber incident response. Consider hiring an acclaimed, third party cyber security company. That way, you’ll be able to pinpoint your vulnerabilities and take remediation steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again.