Hacker attacks: measures for emergencies and prevention

Date: 20.11.2020 | Safety

Detect hacking and protect yourself from hackers: Take these steps to prevent attacks

As the digitalization of work and life areas increases, so too does the rate of Cybercrime in Germany continues to rise. In the police crime statistics for the year 2019, the Federal Criminal Police Office has more than 100.000 cases of cybercrime were recorded – and that around 15 percent more than in the previous year. For a long time now, not only private individuals but also companies have been affected by cyber attacks. How can you tell Detect hacker attack? What to do in an emergency and what protective measures are available?

1. How to recognize a hacker attackn

According to Federal Situation Report Crime 2019 of the German Federal Criminal Police Office, there were a total of 100 such cases last year.514 cybercrime cases. This is 15.4 percent more than in 2018 (87.106 cases). Accordingly, cyber attacks occur much more frequently.

The big problem with this: The incident is often only noticed after the damage has already been done. However, there are signs by which you can tell that something is wrong and someone has hacked the system.

That’s why it’s very important to be always alert and suspicious if your computer behaves in any way different than usual or things happen that never happened before. You can check whether hackers have tampered with your computer by looking at the following points.

〉Files act independently

When a computer suddenly takes on a life of its own, it is often the result of a cyber attack. Malware such as computer viruses nest unnoticed – camouflaged by inconspicuous names. They cause files to move and install themselves. As a result, files and programs appear that were not there before. Likewise, there may be files in the trash that you didn’t delete yourself.

Hacker attacks: measures for emergencies and prevention

The computer is constantly overloaded

A computer that is constantly overloaded and responds only slowly may have fallen into a so-called Botnet get. This is a network of computers that have been hijacked without the owners’ knowledge or consent. Computers obtained in this way can be controlled and remotely controlled by cyber criminals and misused for various attacks.

Unusual warnings appear on the desktop

So-called Scareware popups Are fake error messages from the virus scanner or government organizations such as the Federal Police or the GEZ. They get onto the computer via malware. There they warn users of possible dangers or alert them that they have been the victim of a hacking attack. This is intended to persuade them to buy or install malicious software. In some cases, there are also blatant calls to send money or bitcoins to a specific address in order to get the computer free again.

Search queries are redirected

If you keep ending up on pages you never searched for without mistyping, this indicates a so-called browser hijacker towards. This is malware that is used to automatically access certain websites. Cybercriminals make money with every click and page visit. It can also be used to spy on secret data. It is also suspicious if you open the Internet browser and a different start page is displayed than the one you have set up.

〉Login is no longer possible

A cyber attack does not have to affect the entire system, but can also be limited to individual accounts. Access to social networks, e-mails and online stores are especially popular. Have unauthorized Your access data you may notice that you are no longer able to log in.

Messages and files are sent in your name

Another clear indication that your credentials are being misused is when messages are sent in your name to your contacts on social networks or emails with dubious file attachments are sent to your friends and family. This is often first noticeable when the people contacted contact you about the messages.

Hacker attacks: measures for emergencies and prevention

Money was debited from the account

Suspicious account activity, such as unknown debits or transfers that you didn’t make yourself, is also an indication that hackers have been spying on your personal information. They use your account data to withdraw money or use stolen passwords to order items in your name, which are then also charged to your account.

2. Here’s what companies can do in the event of a cyberattack

Cyber attacks are often targeted at businesses. This is because increasing digitalization in the business and industrial sector is making companies more and more interesting to cybercriminals. For example, customer and payment data and development plans may be stolen, or the increasingly digitized production processes and machines may be completely paralyzed. This results in serious economic and existential risk for enterprises. Hacking attacks on businesses are a good basis for Extortion with ransomware.

After a hacker attack, significant financial damage can result even without blackmail, potentially bankrupting the company: Crippled production results in delivery bottlenecks, canceled orders, and reputational damage, which directly impacts revenue. The Theft of customer data May result in legal proceedings and claims for damages. When development plans are stolen, there are serious consequences for the company’s research and competitiveness.

2.1 What to do in the event of a cyberattack on companies that has occurred

To minimize the damage caused by the cyber attack, you should take the following immediate measures against hacker attacks.

Take systems temporarily offline

When a cyberattack incident occurs, it is advisable to take the infected system and, if possible, all important but not necessarily affected systems offline, at least temporarily, in order to prevent the attack and the Isolate access of hackers. By doing so, you reduce the number of internally active applications and devices that the hacker can attack.

Hacker attacks: measures for emergencies and prevention

〉In case of attack immediately Secure evidence

In addition, you should take steps to describe and establish all events related to the incident, thus securing important evidence of the hacking attack:

  • Record the time (dates and time including time zone) when relevant events occurred or. have been identified.
  • Back up all important, existing logs and log data.
  • Make a note of details (name, dates, time) of all emails, phone calls and other connections currently or recently received.
  • Record the following information: the identity of the people handling tasks related to the loss, a description of those tasks, and the amount of time.
  • Gather all information on the nature and extent of the damage incurred.
  • Capture the identifier as well as the type of compromise of all affected accounts, services, systems, networks and data.

After the incident, you must permanently back up all logs that you and the authorities need to analyze the events.

Notify other injured parties and the relevant regulatory authority

If you learn of an existing vulnerability in a system that is currently being exploited, the first step should be to inform and warn potentially affected parties, such as manufacturers or developers of modules and apps. They may even be able to provide you with previously unknown information about the incident. In this way, further damage to other systems may be avoided.

Detect hacker attacks and protect yourself from hackers: Prevent attacks with these measures

Disconnect the Internet connection

On the computer, cut the connection to the Internet and unplug the router. By doing so, you will break the contact between the attackers or the malware, respectively, and your computer or other Internet-enabled endpoints.

Change access data

Cybercriminals who have obtained your online account credentials will shamelessly exploit them and not leave it at the one account that has already been hacked. That’s why it’s important to not only change the password that’s already been affected, but to replace all of your login credentials. Here’s how to make sure unauthorized people can’t log in and cause further damage.

Block credit cards and account

If you notice that unauthorized persons have gained access to your accounts at online stores or your bank data, you should have your credit cards and accounts blocked immediately. This will make it impossible for cybercriminals to get their hands on your money.

Inform providers and contacts

If your account has been hacked, you should contact the provider immediately and – if it affects your social network account or your email account – also inform your contacts about it. This allows you to warn them that messages and e-mails do not originate from you and that friends should under no circumstances open any links or files contained therein.

Report the incident

Be sure to also inform the appropriate state police if you suspect a crime has been committed. The Federal Office for Information Security or, if necessary, the consumer advice center are also good places to start. By doing so, you can help the authorities get on the trail of cybercriminals.

3.2 Safe from cyberattacks: here’s how you can protect yourself

There is a whole range of protective measures and behaviors that you can use to effectively prevent cyberattacks.

Secure the Internet connection

The Internet connection is often a major weak point, making it easy for attackers to dial in and carry out their illegal activities. This can be prevented with simple measures.

First, make sure that the router and its operating system are secure by regularly updating the router’s security settings Install security updates. It is also important to change the default passwords for the router and WLAN. The pre-installed passwords are each placed on the router and therefore visible to everyone.

Keep the new passwords in a safe place that is not accessible to strangers. It is even better to encrypt the Internet connection using methods such as WPA and WPA2, so that the connection is not visible to third parties.

〉Use secure passwords

A strong, secure password consists of at least eight characters. It contains upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters – preferably in what looks like a random combination.

To help you remember them, it helps to take the first letters of each word from a complete sentence. In between, add a few numbers and special characters and you have a secure password.

Avoid this mistake at all costs!

Many people use one password for almost all accounts. Use a separate password for each account. Because if one access is cracked, all the others are no longer secure either. Change all access data every few weeks. To avoid losing track, we recommend a good password manager.

Unsuitable passwords are information that third parties can find out with a little research:

  • Birth data
  • Names or surnames from your family
  • Letter or number combinations that have personal meaning to you
  • Use words that can be easily looked up in the dictionary

Fend off malware

Effective protection against malware is provided by up-to-date anti-virus programs and other security software. Make sure that your virus protection is always up to date. This is the only way they can also combat newer malware versions. The same goes for the firewall that actively protects against attacks from the Internet. Applications and apps should also be updated regularly, especially if they are security updates. Turn on the spam filter in the email client to weed out fraudulent mails.

Recognize phishing emails

Cybercriminals deceptively replicate emails from banks, parcel services, social networks and well-known online stores. In these phishing emails, they ask the recipient to click on the attached files to the included link and provide their login or banking information there. This is how cybercriminals try to obtain sensitive data such as passwords, usernames and credit card information and use it for illegal purposes. To prevent this, you need to know how to recognize such phishing emails.

Recognizing malicious emails and phishing emails

There are some clues that should make you suspicious: Basically, reputable providers never ask their customers to provide personal information via email. File attachments or senders that raise doubts are also usually an indication of a phishing email. Furthermore, emails with a general address and many spelling mistakes are a reason to become suspicious. In general, you should be wary of emails whose origin is unknown to you or that otherwise seem suspicious, and should not open them, much less click on the links and attachments they contain.

Surf safely

For the sites that require the input of data, it is better to check the address several times. It is best to use a bookmark for the domains or enter the URL manually. Also, you should enter the passwords yourself every time and not save them. In addition, you should never provide sensitive data to untrusted sites.

Make others aware of the issue

Despite strong warnings from IT experts, employees are often very naive when it comes to proper online behavior. Many click on links in spam emails or inappropriately use USB sticks, which contain malicious programs and can quickly infect systems. Every employee must therefore be informed of the possible consequences and instructed in proper Internet use.

In the same way, in the private sphere, the family members of the house must be sensitized to the topic of cybercrime. This is especially true for children and the elderly.

〉Create contingency plans

If a cyber attack takes place, then time always plays a decisive role. Here, a contingency plan lays out what to do in the event of a cyberattack and who needs to be informed. If you set a precise plan, you can significantly minimize the damage to your business.

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