4 Warning Signs of a Cybersecurity Breach
Cyber attacks have continuously threatened people over the years, but recently hackers have become even more aggressive with their breaching attempts. According to reports from The Hill, there has already been a 667% increase in phishing emails from February to the end of March due to the ongoing pandemic and the majority of companies shifting to remote work. A similar article from Entrepreneur found that over 4,000 new website domains were set up just these past few weeks, wherein 3% consisted of malware.
Indeed, it’s absolutely essential to take even more care with your digital data—and it starts with spotting the signs of a possible cybersecurity breach.
That being said, here are four warning signs every user should look out for.
Abnormally slow device
If you notice that your devices have been running unusually slow, one possible reason is the presence of active malware. Malware acts like any software or app. If they’re running continuously, then your device tends to lag. To this end, a feature by HP on remote working tools highlights the importance of investing in reliable antivirus software to prevent malware from proliferating in your system. Plenty of services today, such as AVG and Norton, even offer a number of solutions—including firewall protection, safe browsing options, and virus scans. So if you find yourself with a slow device, get an antivirus software and run a deep scan. This should identify and eliminate all potential malware from your device.
Have you been getting random pop-ups even when you’re not on your browser? Or maybe your browser opens random ad tabs every time you open it? Either way, this could be a sign of a wayward Trojan nestled in your machine. It’s annoying, but mostly harmless. For instance, some cyber criminals do it for “click fraud” — an internet scam where they use your device to add clicks to paid ads. As it’s also caused by a form of malware, a deep scan with your antivirus software ought to get rid of it.
Losing control of pointer
Not every misbehaving arrow points to a breach. Sometimes it’s caused by a defect in your mouse or touchpad’s hardware. It could even be caused by your driver. But when your pointer starts moving purposefully, perhaps to open a file or access a webpage, then you have every reason to be alarmed. In this case, immediately cut off the computer’s access to your internet connection—which is where the hacker is most likely accessing your device. To protect your router from future breaches, columnist Kim Komando recommends setting up a DNS service or adding more firewalls. Connect your router directly to your computer to prevent network access and make the necessary changes.
If you’re suddenly unable to access your account/s, then chances are they have been potentially breached. But don’t panic. Contact the web operator or email provider and ask for a password change. Stay away from generic passwords or those that contain personal information. In fact, it’s better if you consult a Password Manager like LassPass and RoboForm to come up with long, complex combinations that are challenging to guess. For added security, see if the website has a “two-step verification” option available. If enabled, this feature asks for another password during the login process. This is sent via SMS or voice message.
Cybersecurity is not a light matter. And while it helps to have an updated system and reliable antivirus software, breaches can still occur when you least expect them to. When the worst happens, keep calm and deal with the threat immediately.
Cyber Security Researcher. Information security specialist, currently working as risk infrastructure specialist & investigator. He is a cyber-security researcher with over 25 years of experience. He has served with the Intelligence Agency as a Senior Intelligence Officer. He has also worked with Google and Citrix in development of cyber security solutions. He has aided the government and many federal agencies in thwarting many cyber crimes. He has been writing for us in his free time since last 5 years.