Cyberattacks: Know the Major Signs to Thwart your Enemy

By Enterprise Security Magazine | Thursday, September 05, 2019

Cyberattacks seldom occur these days. However, whenever they do occur, they are almost always irreparable. In most cases, these crimes are detected after the damage is already done. Let's have a look at some signs and symptoms that can save some common cyber threats from damaging enterprises' systems.

FREMONT, CA: Online business has become a growing trend. A website is just like having a shop and a stage to showcase all products and services to people and gain customers, thus increasing the sales and earning huge profits. However, with profits come a lot of risks. One of those significant and most dangerous risks is cyberattacks.

Cyberattack, which is also called a computer network attack (CNA), is referred to as the deliberate exploitation of networks, computer systems, and technology-dependent organizations. Cyberattacks deploy malicious code or software (malware) to modify computer code, data, and logic, which ultimately results in disruptive outcomes that can compromise a company's private data and can cause cybercrimes. Cyberattacks are the root cause of cybercrimes such as fraud, information theft, and ransomware schemes.

Cyberattacks can be put into two broad categories. In the first category of attacks, the aim is to diffuse the targeted device or knock it offline. In the other group lies the attacks where the objective is to get access to a system and take some advantage of it by stealing data or compromising it in other ways.

Cyberattacks are proving a significant threat to organizations, workers, and consumers. The attacks can destroy big businesses, cause harm to people's personal as well as financial lives since their data become vulnerable.

However, if everything is tackled in the right manner, it is possible to keep a lot of cybercrimes at bay. Enterprises are not oblivious to cybercrimes. However, a reference guide to identify signs and symptoms of a hack or attack would be helpful for enterprises and CIOs.

Below are some of the signs that indicate if a company has been hacked or loaded with malware. This can help in taking preventative measures to avoid or worsen the situation.

1. Connections get slow: The slow and snail-paced behavior of an enterprise's computer network is one of the most common signals of its IT system been attacked. The enterprise might need to delete some of the unwanted programs or even run a risk management program. However, when the condition doesn't improve, there is a strong possibility that the IT security of the company has been breached because of a vicious cyberattack. These attacks are generally very well-orchestrated such as Denial of Service (DoS) or a malware that has made the organization's system susceptible to outside fraudsters. The computers of a company can be a part of a botnet, which is already being controlled by an external entity. A botnet is a computer network whose machines are damaged by malicious software enabling an outside entity to take control of the machines. It is common for a fraudster to use a botnet to install malicious software on the device. These types of attacks generally go undetected.

2. Unusual emails: Some expert hackers are surprisingly patient individuals who intentionally carry out sophisticated attacks built with multiple levels, which makes it difficult to detect. A fraudster can make use of the compromised computer to send phishing emails to the employees or other associates to gain access to personal information. In such scenarios, each person in the company must be given proper guidelines to be alert and be attentive towards the things they find suspicious. Employees should look into the 'URL' as well as the domain name from where the mail is sent. Cybercriminals are making use of very sophisticated techniques to hack unprotected systems. The employees should not trust every email they receive. They should dwell deep into unexpected attachments, strange requests, or various unusual features.

3. Running of unusual programs in task manager:  One of the best ways to check if there is any data breach is to open the Task Manager and identify suspicious processes running in the background. The processes usually have cryptic names, and the user should inspect it to check if there is any breach of data. The programs being startup processes might use the CPU and other resources. In most cases, the CPU gets overheated despite being in idle position. This can be a consequence of an unsolicited software program operating in the background. Although there can be other reasons for the system to be overheated, however, it will be wise to ponder upon the root cause of this abnormal behavior.

4. Unexpected popups: If the windows of the computer are popping up on their own, then that computer system has been 100 percent compromised. This surely points towards the system being part of a botnet and that the remotely based cyber fraudster is clicking the internet links on the system. The company's system can also be utilized for 'click fraud'; an internet fraud in which the owner of a website makes use of the system and clicks on Pay Per Click (PPC) ads posted on the site. Though there is a lack of tools to eliminate the possibility of 'click fraud' on the system, some tools can aid the company in detecting the 'IP origin' of a click. A compromised computer can also have sudden and unexpected crashes.

5. Not able to download updates: In case, a malware software has been installed on the company's computer system, the user will not be able to download and install important updates needed to shield the computer system. The malware will also prohibit from installing any anti-virus updates. In some cases, the users are even unable to have access to the vendor's website to get updates.

All in all, these cyberattacks are getting more complex with each passing day. So it is important to comprehend our networks and track the system's daily activities to detect suspicious activities that can harm or damage the system.

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