The University of Maryland states cyber attacks occur every 39 seconds and impact 1 in 3 Americans every year. opens in a new windowAccording to IBM, the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million and moving in an upward trend. For small businesses, this can be devastating, with 60 percent closing their doors within 6 months of a data breach or cyber attack. With both the financial security and future of your business on the line, it’s crucial for organizations of all sizes to have measures in place to monitor suspicious network activity.
What is a Data Breach?
A data breach is any incident where confidential or sensitive information has been accessed without permission. Data breaches are the result of a cyberattack where criminals gain unauthorized access to a computer system or network and steal the private, sensitive, or confidential personal and financial data of the customers or users contained within.
What Constitutes Suspicious Activity of a Possible Data Breach?
Suspicious activity in your business computer network can involve abnormal access patterns, database activities, file changes, and other out-of-the-ordinary actions that can indicate an attack or data breach. Being able to recognize these activities is important as it can help pinpoint the source and nature of the breach, allowing you to act quickly to correct the security threat and minimize damage. ClickAway can serve as a cornerstone component of a managed IT services plan, or on a project basis to shore up your company’s cyber security posture. For those that want to do it themselves, here are some of the most common examples of suspicious activity.
- Database Activity: Abnormal database activity can be caused by either internal or external attacks, and the crucial signs to watch for include changes in your users, changes in permissions, and unusual data content growth.
- Account abuse: The abuse of privileged accounts is one of the most common signs of an insider attack, and symptoms to watch for are modified audit trails, sharing of account access, and the accessing of sensitive information without need.
- User access: Strange changes in user access are generally a sign that an external party, such as a hacker, is trying to gain access to your network using a user’s credentials. They could be accessing accounts at odd hours, accessing remotely, having multiple failed attempts to log in, and discrepancies between a user and a particular device.
- File changes: Configuration changes to files, including replacement, modifications, file additions, and deletion, is a classic sign of a data breach. It indicates somebody has infiltrated your network and is trying to prevent being discovered.
- Unexpected network behavior: This is another sign of an attempted infiltration from outside sources. You should be on the lookout for traffic with odd origins or targets, protocol violations, inexplicable changes in network performance, and unauthorized scans.
- Unauthorized port access: Although this may be a result of an insider accident, unsanctioned port access can also indicate a malware attack or that files have already been stolen.
- Changes detected by end users: For small organizations with fewer detection and security measures in place, it’s possible that end users will be the first to notice the effects of suspicious activity. This might include excessive pop-ups, odd anti-virus notifications, slow devices or networks, and unauthorized toolbars.
Your Data Security Plan Should Include The Following:
- Malware protection
- Strong password policies
- Regular review of network alerts, error reports, performance, and traffic
- Installing firewalls
- Instructing end users to report suspicious activity
- File integrity monitoring
- Regular risk assessments
- Incident and failure response strategies
The key to combating suspicious network activity and a data breach is prevention. This involves having a solid network security strategy for your business. ClickAway can help you with strategy through our IT services. Give us a call for a no risk, free site assessment.