As the CEO of an IT services company, also known as a Managed Service Provider (MSP) in New Jersey, I understand the critical importance of protecting your business from cyber threats. Small business owners, presidents, and CEOs in our state often face a dilemma. While you know you need robust IT support, the expense can be daunting. But consider this: the cost of not having IT services when you need them can be far greater.


Don’t Panic, Act Smartly: Steps to Take When Your Network Is Compromised

When you first suspect that your computer or network has been compromised, panic is a natural reaction. However, your next steps are crucial in determining whether the incident will be a minor inconvenience or a devastating disaster that brings legal trouble, huge fines, and halts your ability to do business.

Our cyber security experts have outlined the top signs of a compromised system and the essential steps you need to take to mitigate damage.

Signs Your Computer Might Be Infected

According to IBM’s latest cyber security report, the average data breach goes unnoticed and unreported for 277 days. This is alarming, considering that attacks using malware, viruses, and keylogging tools can cause extensive damage quickly. Many users miss the warning signs, leading to irreversible damage. Here are several indicators that your computer could be infected:

  • Slow computer or network performance
  • Frequent freezes or sudden crashes
  • Rapid pop-ups
  • Locked user accounts
  • Sudden and unexpected file changes**
  • Abnormal system behavior, such as the device continuing to run after a shutdown
  • Unusual account activity

If you experience any of these issues, it’s crucial to contact your IT support team immediately. If it’s an attack, they’ll take the necessary steps to mitigate the damage, and if it’s not, they can update your system or replace your device to improve performance.

What To Do Next

If you notice any of these signs, follow these expert-recommended steps:

  1. Take the network offline to isolate the incident, but DO NOT turn off the device or reboot it - While it may be tempting to restart your device when it’s not working correctly, doing so can worsen the situation if malware is involved. Rebooting can activate a crashed file-encryption process, leading to unrecoverable data loss. Disconnect your device from the network but keep it on as you proceed to the next steps.
  2. Call your IT support team IMMEDIATELY - Containing the breach before it spreads is vital. Your IT team will investigate the issue, determine the impact, and mitigate the breach quickly. Do not attempt to fix this on your own. Running a “system cleanup” or antivirus software might waste valuable time and cause more damage. Let the experts handle it.
  3. Call your attorney - Depending on the size of the breach, you may need legal counsel with privacy and data security expertise. Your attorney can advise you on federal and state laws implicated by the data breach.
  4. Change passwords and secure all accounts - While your IT team works on containing the breach, change your passwords to protect other accounts that might not be affected yet. Start with accounts containing financial information, such as credit card numbers and Social Security numbers. Enable multifactor authentication if you haven’t already.
  5. Check your bank accounts - Cyber-attacks are often financially motivated, making bank accounts primary targets. While the breach is being mitigated, monitor your bank accounts, payment processing tools, third-party merchant accounts, and employee payroll systems for any anomalies or sudden changes.

Prepare for Future Threats

If your business experiences a cyber-attack, there will be additional steps to take, such as implementing a PR communications plan, notifying law enforcement, and more. The most crucial action is to isolate the incident and engage a qualified cyber security professional as soon as possible. Time is of the essence in these situations.

For New Jersey businesses, having a reliable and trustworthy cyber security team is essential. Start with a FREE Cyber Security Risk Assessment. These assessments are designed to thoroughly examine your network, pinpoint vulnerabilities, and map out a plan to address them. Preventing a cyber-attack is far more cost-effective than fixing one. Book your assessment today by visiting Titan IT Services or calling 732-607-5128.

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