What are the signs of a Cyber Attack?

Detecting a Cyber Attack before it's too late can save you or your business a lot of money,

Do you know the signs of a Cyber Attack? Knowing what to look for is essential as you can take action immediately and stop the hacker progressing any further with the attack. What you must know is that not all attacks are visual; some are often done secretly in the background so you’re completely oblivious and do not detect any suspicious activity going on. 

Suspicious email address

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Phishing emails are accountable for many attacks and is one of the most common techniques. If you don’t know what to look for in this instance, it may be a good time to take note so you know for the future. 

Checking the email address is imperative if the content is to do with the government, tax office or any other email that you may not have requested that contains payment refunds or charges. You need to look at the email address (see example below) :

  • Correct email address: 1234@example.com 
  • Incorrect email address: 1234@example.com-x-t OR a completely unrelated email address compared to the content of your email. 

Another way to detect a scam email is by the spelling and grammar. It seems silly to think you need to check this but scam emails often come with grammatical errors which legitimate emails do not.

Password activity

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On previous occasions we have seen that passwords have been compromised unknowingly. Sometimes you may get an email requesting a password reset which may not be by you which is the first sign of your account being hacked. We advise you reset your password right away using our advice on upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. 

We have seen an incident when a hacker had compromised an Office 365

account by making a rule in the settings to send a password reset link to an alternative email address which is where the secretiveness comes in. If you cannot access your account using your normal password, try a reset and if you do not get it in your inbox or junk and straight in to your deleted folder this may be a time to contact someone technical about it.

Transaction activity

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If you find your account balance decreasing abnormally or you have transactions that haven’t been made by yourself, you will need to alert your bank as this could potentially mean a Cyber Attack. It would be a good idea to regularly check your account just to be sure as if you leave it for a while without checking, the consequences could be more disastrous. 

If you feel you are a victim of such an attack then you need to highlight at the

start of the phone call to your bank you think you’re a victim of a Cyber Attack and you will be prioritized accordingly. 

File encryption

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If your files are encrypted you will not be able to open them as the file name will be changed so that the operating system will not be able to recognize it. This can be deadly especially if you have confidential information stored in Microsoft Office documents. If this happens, you need to get in touch with your IT Support team so they work on the issue for you.

As an example the file type may be a Word Document but when encrypted,

the hacker could change it to a name the may label themselves as. As the operating system doesn’t know the file type they encrypted the document with it cannot open, blocking your access to the file.

The best thing to do is have a backup of these files as any data you have will not be lost and you have another copy stored somewhere else.  

Slow network

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When someone attempts to hack your system, there tends to be a spike in the network traffic which can result in the performance overall becoming slower than usual. Slow networks can often be another issue that’s causing it but get in touch with a professional and technical team if you experience the network becoming slower than usual. 

If you notice that the network speeds are slower than usual you need to alert

your IT provider immediately so they can investigate and block any malicious and unusual activity. 

Other signs

These are just five of the main things to look out for in a suspected Cyber Attack. There are also these to look out for too: 

  • Suspicious pop-ups – avoid clicking on website pop-ups and unknown pop-ups as they could contain malware and ransomware
  • Outdated Software – keep all software up to date so that any vulnerable patches can be fixed to avoid hackers getting through
  • Downloading updates – the presence of malware can often mean downloads cannot be actioned
  • Unusual activity in task manager – to view press ‘Ctrl + Alt + Delete’ and view task manager – the names will appear cryptic in the task manager which will indicate if there is a cyber attack taking place

Protect yourself from a Cyber Attack now

Now you’re more aware of the activity that surrounds Cyber Attacks it’s time to put a plan in to action. Get in touch with us to help protect your business from a Cyber disaster. 


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