Cybersecurity is a concern for us all and affects individuals, companies, organizations, and even governments. Hackers target different systems, and you might find yourself in their crosshairs. When a cyberattack happens on your company or organization, how are you supposed to react? What is the best response plan following a cybersecurity incidence?
When you know how to behave in response to a cyberattack, it will better equip you to take on the news and react more professionally. Additionally, responding calmly to a cyberattack ensures that you can recover more quickly from the attack. Knowing how to react to a cyberattack will also prepare you better for such an eventuality.
Hackers like to target weakly protected systems, but in other cases, they also go for the computer systems that are well protected. Usually, they do it in search of better challenges that are greater and more menacing to the hackers.
More significant challenges for the hackers mean better reputation, and they will trend in their hacker circles when they have broken into more formidable systems. The hackers usually place a value on the kind of information that is on your system. They will target your business based on the type of information you process and your data’s value.
If your business processes financial transactions, you most likely work with transaction processing systems to take care of purchases and other significant transactions. When hackers break into your system and steal sensitive financial information from your database, they will have something that they can sell on the black market.
Information of this nature goes for a lot of money on the dark web. It is the reason hackers will work as hard as they can to be able to steal your company’s financial records as well as a document of all your transactions. With this information, they can break into banks and other financial institutions with ease.
Cyberattacks are even more likely to happen to your company when you have sensitive information from the customers. If you are an online store where customers buy items from, the hackers will target customers who make purchases at your store. With their financial details, they will be able to ask for refunds on the products that have been purchased to get the money.
Ransomware attacks are also getting more common and are the prevalent threat on the internet. Many big companies have been the target of ransomware attacks that have placed them face-to-face with hackers.
Protecting your information is more critical when you deal with the personal records of your clients. Your customer records should be encrypted to ensure that hackers do not get to steal your documents to sell the information on the dark market.
No matter how well you protect your information, hacking attacks are always likely to happen. There might be places in your security infrastructure that might not be well secured or adequately protected. When you have a mechanism to protect your information, ensure that it is sealed tight.
Securing your information also means upgrading your policies to ensure that there are no human weaknesses that hackers can take advantage of. Hackers take advantage of human errors and security habits to break into security systems.
The hacker will always find a way to break into your security system, no matter how well secured it is. They will look hard and long, ensuring that they have tried all the tricks up their sleeves as well as in the books.
Accept the Fact that Hacking Can Happen
One of the ways to be better prepared for hackers is to stay aware of the fact that hacking is possible. Hackers can find security weaknesses in your security with a single sweep of their port scanners.
Knowing that hackers can break into your system prepares you mentally and psychologically for any hacking incidents. When you accept that hackers have experience breaking into a system and hack into your system, you will be able to react more professionally to the hacking or cyberattack when it happens.
Accepting the fact that the cyberattack is the work of a hacker enables you to narrow your focus on them. It also ensures that you are fully aware of the severity of the scenario that you are in.
Your company is not any different from the million other companies that have fallen victims to the hacker’s attacks. You can still get hacked, and knowing this ensures that you are ready for any eventuality.
Hackers always look for new targets once they have finished hacking other information systems, and no matter what kind of business you run, the hackers will always find something that will be of interest to them. The hackers will want to break into your information systems for various reasons, and acknowledging their capabilities is essential.
Being aware of the severity of cyberattacks is also crucial for preparing for such incidences. When you know how bad the attacks can get, you will better prepare yourself for the hackers. You will also not feel very devastated when the hackers have put all your data and information to waste.
Hackers can be very destructive when breaking into systems, and learning to recognize their danger is essential. When you know how severe the hacking can get, you will also be ready to take on facts that might seem simply unacceptable. For instance, if the hackers have carried out a denial-of-service attack on your system that has lasted an entire week, accepting that this is possible will enable you to take in the facts a lot better.
The possibility of a cyberattack also ensures that you are better prepared for the attack. Learning to recognize the trail of damage that hackers have left behind in their previous undertakings will also be helpful for you. It will enable you to be well prepared for any attack that the hackers might decide to unleash on your information system.
Gather the Facts
Before you can make any moves, assess the state of things after the cyberattack. Gathering the facts will make you fully aware of the extent of the damage that your system has sustained following the hacking attack. Being completely informed of the facts surrounding the cyberattack is also very important for you.
Full awareness of what has happened will ensure that you have enough information to act on. Additionally, your next steps will be guided by this information, and you will have the proper course of action to follow.
You must have all the facts about the cyberattack before releasing any information to the public. Most of the time, you are advised not to rush to the public with information about the cyberattack. You should have enough information to prepare a report that can be released to the public.
Haste is not advised when you are under a cyberattack as it can escalate things and make them appear worse than they can. Some of the hacking attacks can be salvaged and presented to the public and other stakeholders to be easier to accept.
Having all the facts about the cyberattack is also essential for knowing who to consult. When you understand what has just happened and what has hit your information infrastructure, you will know what kind of expert to call in to clean things up. A correct investigator will also be required for the cyberattack.
When you have complete information about what has happened to your company or organization, you will handle the attack correctly. Get all the facts correct before making any move. What has stopped working, and what attracted your attention to the fact that you had been the target of a cyberattack? Such information is beneficial and will guide your other steps.
A cyberattack can be compared to a crash landing on a hostile foreign planet. The moment you are on the planet, the first thing you will do is run a diagnostic of the spaceship that took you there in addition to the kind of environment that you are in.
When you have done this assessment, you will determine what steps to take and whether you should leave your spaceship at all. Sometimes, you might find yourself on a very hostile planet infested with unfriendly animals, and these will be very likely to tear you to bits the moment you get out of your spaceship.
When you have been hacked, you need to determine whether you have lost any information to the hackers. You will also need to assess how deep the hackers managed to get inside your system before they were detected or deterred by various security measures.
Knowing this will let you know whether the hackers could take off with your information, such as stealing your database or cloning your storage system. The hackers will be very likely to leave a trace within your information system that you can use to determine where they were on your system. With the information, you will know whether the hackers were able to steal your information or the alarms were triggered before they could copy off any information to their servers.
Calling in a professional can help with assessing the damage that your system has incurred as a result of the hacker breaking in. the professional will be able to determine how successful the hacker was and whether they managed to steal any information from your system. The professional will also determine how severely damaged your information system is.
When you know the damage your system has taken, you will also determine the severity of the cyberattack and which portions of your system were affected. The information will be pretty valuable in determining the next steps and how you react to the hacker’s attack.
When you have a full report from your information systems following the cyber attack, you will have more information to work with. Preparing reports from the damage assessment results will also be a lot easier, and you will be sure to include accurate information.
Preparing other documents such as letters to concerned stakeholders and making a report to the government will also be a lot easier when you know exactly how you have been knocked. The authorities you report to will want to have all the facts surrounding the incidence, and they will want to know everything about the breach.
Report to Relevant Authorities
There is a cybersecurity response team that the government has set up to take care of cyberattacks. When you have gathered enough information, you should file a report with them. Be sure to include as much information as you can about the breach to ensure that the authorities have enough information to act on.
Additionally, when you are filing the report, be sure to describe all the events that led up to the event. In many cases, your report will be filed, and a team will be assigned your case. The team will be responsible for tracing the hacker and, if possible, determining where the hacker originate from.
The reporting is an essential part of the hacking incidence as it alerts the authorities of the event that just took place.
Making the report will also initiate investigations into the cybersecurity incidence, and it will help you react to the event much better. As a responsible company, reporting to the authorities keeps you on top of things and ensures that your case is filed.
A reference to the case and the report will be required in the investigations, and it will also help you get more experts and the relevant authority figures involved in the case. Be sure to include as much information as you can in the report to the authorities. Do not forget about the timestamps and the other events that could have led to the cybersecurity incident.
Consult with Stakeholders
At this point, you should call in the stakeholders that are involved in your company. These include the management and the other investors. The board of management will be especially crucial for a cyberattack as they will determine the best course of action to be followed in response to the attack. They will also determine the seriousness of the incidence and whether it should be released to the public or not.
Sometimes, a few further investigations have to be carried out before the event can be reported to the public. Announcing to the public that you have been hacked before consulting with stakeholders is quite risky and even dangerous. It gives off a wrong impression about your company. It can even lead to economic consequences such as your stock and share prices tumbling down, investors pulling out, and customers abandoning your company.
Stakeholders will determine whether the attack was severe enough to warrant a response or not. They will also decide on what should be done to ensure that such incidences do not happen again. They will recommend a team be set up to look further into the cybersecurity incidence and come up with security measures such as patches that will be used to keep you safer and better prepared if the hacker decides to visit your systems another time.
Informing the stakeholders is also essential as they have a role to play in determining how the cyberattack will be responded to. Keeping them in the loop about the circumstances that led to the breach will enable them to make better decisions about what to do about the hacking incident. When you have the management informed about the incident, they will advise better on the steps to follow.
Consultations are significant when you have been hacked. It will ensure that you are aware of whether you can release the information to the public or not. When you make consultations, you will also have shared the load of the cyberattack, allowing you to get an opinion from other parties about how best to tackle the challenge. Before you can even inform the public, you should ensure that the internal company has been entirely made aware of the fact.
The hacking is a severe incidence, and as such, it should be sent as a notification to all the company employees. This will also allow them to upgrade their security as well as changing passwords. Additionally, the employees will also be able to place flags on transactions that took place around the same time as the hacking incident. This will let them investigate further and prevent the loss of any money in the form of fraudulent transactions.
The stakeholders will also provide recommendations on experts and professionals that can be called in to deal with the cyberattack. They are more connected and know people that have great experience in the field of cybersecurity. As such, they will be able to offer more credible and relevant help in response to the cyberattack. They must be involved as early enough in the response as possible to guide on better ways to handle the cyberattack.
Prepare a Press Release for the Public
At this point, you have to be as careful as possible not to ruffle any feathers. When you have all the facts straight, you will be able to summarize them into a press release that can be posted on your website and shared with media and news outlets. This allows the news about the cyberattack to be shared with the public, and everyone gets informed about the incident.
The press release should be brief and to the point. Do not include unnecessary details in the press release, and keep it as short as possible. Do not include elements that are likely to elicit a response from the public, such as the amount of information stolen by the hackers. A simple notice that your company has been hacked is enough for the press release.
A press release will make people aware of the predicament that you are currently in and what has hit your company. It also keeps the relevant parties informed about your company and the misfortunes that must have befallen you following the attacks by the hackers. Word your press release carefully to avoid providing more information that is necessary.
Additionally, be careful about exaggerating the facts or blowing them out of proportion. When you prepare a press release for the public, you should ensure that it is safe enough. It should not incite any vehement reaction or mass protests, as this is likely to escalate things much further and make things harder for you.
Use appropriate language for your press release and make sure that you do not react to the cyberattack in any extreme way, such as referring to them by names or casting them in a particular light. No matter the kind of damage that the hackers have caused, there is no way of identifying them until you have carried out a complete investigation of the event. Whenever you prepare a press release for the public, ensure that you include only the facts you are entirely sure about.
The press release should then be distributed to the various media houses in your vicinity. Be sure to include all the significant news houses and news sites to ensure that the news about the incidence gets to as many people as possible.
Additionally, you will also be required to inform your customers and clients in the form of notification about the fact that your security might have been compromised. When you do this, you will have assured them that everything is alright without hiding from them that you have sustained a severe cyberattack.
An email that has been well worded is often the best way to inform your customers and clients that you have been hacked. Advise them to change any login credentials on your system and reset passwords that they have been using.
As such, you will have upgraded their security and ensured that the information hackers had stolen from you cannot be used for any improper use. The resetting of the passwords will make the information stolen useless and not effective for any reason.
You can also inform other parties involved in the event, such as the banks that are usually responsible for facilitating transactions. If the hacker had made away with your customers’ financial details, informing the banks and payment gateways will be essential to prevent the information from being used to conduct financial crimes.
Banks and payment processors will be a necessary part of tracing the hackers to where they are. Inform them early about the incident will ensure that they are well prepared to move the money and withdraw the funds they have obtained from the hacker’s cyberattack.
Start Forensic Investigations
Investigations about the hacking incident should follow suit, which should involve the industry’s best experts. Getting professional investigators to find out what happened with your information systems will be pretty valuable. It will enable you to determine who was responsible for the attack and the kind of damage that they had caused to your information system.
An excellent and credible forensics investigation will also reveal more details about the hacker’s identity, such as their digital footprint and unique code signature. The investigation will uncover a lot of important information. Since the experts will be working with a digital crime scene, the evidence they collect will help trace back to the hacker.
Forensic investigations are pretty helpful for the sake of your company. They will determine the extent and severity of the damage that your systems had incurred. Additionally, the experts will reconstruct the digital crime scene and place the hacker in the picture.
As such, it will be much easier to form a picture of the hacker and the kind of tools they were using to break into your information systems. The investigators will study the digital scene of the crime and determine the vulnerabilities that the hacker used to break into your information system. The hacker must have used different ways to break into your computers, and when you know the security weakness that they used, you will be a step closer to determine who the hackers are.
Everyone has a unique digital signature that is an amalgamation of their activities, coding style, and even how they type. All these details can be uncovered by the forensic investigator and will be pretty valuable for determining who the hacker is.
With the details that you get from the forensic investigation, you will have several leads that you can work on. These leads will ensure that you get to have a trail that will lead back to the hackers and the kind of damage that they had meted out on your information systems. Conducting the investigations will also reveal further details about the nature of the cyberattack.
It will show you the kind of hacking tools and methods that were used. When you have this information, you will be able to recover much faster from the hacking incident. Getting the evidence while it is still fresh is very important, and your investigations should start as soon as the stakeholders have been informed.
This will ensure that your systems are studied for any clues that the hackers might have left behind. Every little detail will be necessary for your investigation and will ensure that you have a way of moving on from the scene of the cybercrime.
You can still catch up with the hacker when you have more information about their attack. When you have carried out a forensic investigation, you will be better positioned to react to the attack. You will also get to trace the hacker back to where they are and ensure that anything they left behind has been used to reconstruct their digital identity.
Do not give up your search for the hacker and ensure that your investigation covers the employees and management of your company. A thorough investigation will reveal who the hacker was as well as letting you know the security loopholes and weaknesses the hacker might have used to get past your security systems.
For instance, did the hacker make use of social engineering in the course of their attack? Did they send any emails to your employees? Conducting an in-depth investigation into all these details is crucial as it will reveal more information about the nature of the hacking. If the hacker used correspondence in their attack, it would be a lot easier to trace them.
Investigating everyone involved in the cyberattack and the first person to notice it will also be necessary. When you know the people involved in the cyberattack, you will be able to investigate further and obtain valuable clues that will help trace the hacker.
It might not always be possible to trace the hacker, but collecting information about them helps construct a digital identity that can be used to trace back to them. The digital identity can also link the hacker to other similar cybersecurity incidences, and it can be precious in getting them arrested.
When there is more information about the hacker and the nature of the attack that they carried out, you will be able to form a better image of the hacker, and this way, you will be able to trace them right to where they are.
Respond to All Queries about the Incidence
The best thing that you can do is quell any further reactions to the incidence. Be sure to stay open and available with a set of answers that you can use to answer the question from the public about the incidence. Your customers and clients will be very concerned about the state of their information and whether they can continue doing business with your company.
When you have enough details to work with, you will assure them that they can continue doing business with you. You will also be able to repair your relationship when you have the best answers to their questions.
Maintain an open line of communication with parties from the outside and hire several representatives to handle the public backlash from the event. The best way to keep your customers is by being honest with them about the incident.
If there was no information stolen, assure them that the breach was not possible and it was not a successful hack. Such data can be beneficial for the public and will maintain your public image. When you have the best answers to questions from the public, you will also be able to regain their trust and restore your reputation.
Be professional and calm about handling their inquiries and whenever you are dealing with your customers, clients, and business partners, ensure that you have a set of responses already prepared. This will enable you to answer as many questions as you can from the customers.
Additionally, being prepared for all kinds of questions will ensure that your hacking incidence is responded to in the best way possible. The customers will not have any pending questions when you have dealt professionally with them. It will also help to calm the customer’s tempers when you have ready answers to their questions.
Additionally, be prepared for many reactions from the public will also help you prepare better for them. For instance, you will be able to calm angry customers and assure them that none of their information has been lost due to the cyberattack.
Form a Recovery Plan
Recovery is an essential part of the reaction to the cyberattack, and it ensures that you have something that you can work on to restore any service that the hackers might have disrupted. When you have a good recovery plan, getting back in action and providing services to your customers will be much easier.
Being organized about getting back in action following a cyberattack will also be very useful for your company. When you are more organized, you will not miss a single detail, and this will ensure that you can restore your public image and the trust that your customers have in you.
The recovery plan should also involve recovering all the data that might have been affected during the cyberattack. When you have data recovery in place, you will be able to restore all the information on your system before the hack occurs.
Any application that was affected should be patched up, and all the software systems that were responsible for the cyberattack replaced or upgraded. The software vendor should also be informed about their software being used to break into your information system.
The vendor can be informed that their software has vulnerabilities that the hackers have used in their cyberattack. This will let them work on patches and updates that will cover the areas used to break into the information system.
A good recovery plan should also involve restoring confidence in your employees. Even when they have been affected in the cyberattack, you should assure them that this was unavoidable, but it can be better defended against in the future. You can also train them about the importance of better security practices.
Upgrade your working policy to ensure that passwords are regularly changed and all your employees are aware of the cybersecurity threats that are all around them. Make them aware of social engineering and how it can take advantage of them during cyberattacks.
When you have done this, you will be able to restore your company to where it was before the attack, and the patches you will have installed will ensure that you have enforced better security rules and measures for your information system.
When you are recovering and restoring your company to its former glory, do not forget about the incident. Let is be an inspiration to the new security measures that you put in place and the upgrades that you will be doing to your systems to keep the hackers out of your systems. When you do this, you will have established a way of getting back into action even after getting stalled by the cyberattack.
Recovery can be made more accessible by supporting and encouraging everyone along the way. It should also involve your clients, who should be informed about any new developments and improvements you have effected to ensure that you are never hacked again. Such information can help restore the confidence that your customers have in your business.
Be sure to assure them that you are upgrading your systems. Additionally, send a detailed email while restoring your services showing what happened during the attack and the way ahead regarding security issues and concerns. The best recovery plan should have all the parties that have been affected by the hack onboard, as this will also ensure that your business can get back online and in operation.
When you are fully recovered, everything will be behind you and more robust security measures ahead. With better recovery measures and strategies in place, you will be able to continue running your business without worrying about hackers. You will also be better protected from the hackers and any further moves they might have in store for you.
Hacking incidences such as cyberattacks are always expected, and you never know when the hacker will turn their attention to your company. Knowing the best way to react to cyberattacks is very important. It ensures that you know the approach to follow in breaking the news to the relevant stakeholders and what steps to follow to ensure that you can handle all the reactions following the incident.
You will also restore confidence in your company by keeping and maintaining open communication with your customers and clients. When you inform them about all the events surrounding the incident, you will restore their confidence and ensure that your business is trusted again.
Forensic investigations are also essential to ensure that, as a business, you have a better picture of the events that led to the cyberattack. It also helps to build the identity of the hacker as well as their digital signature. These are crucial details to tracking them down and helping other related hacking incidences be connected to the same hacker.
As such, the hacker will be much easier to find, and eventually, the information gathered about them will be used to find them. Knowing how best to recover from the cyberattack is also essential for your company. When you can recover quickly, you will restore your business to its state before the hacking incident. Additionally, you will also be able to form a better plan to patch up the security holes used by the hacker to get past your defenses.
Upgrading your security systems will be another part of the recovery process, and it will ensure that you stay protected from any further attempts by hackers. Overall, the reaction you have in response to the cyberattack will determine whether your business will hold together or fall into pieces.