Computing technology has transformed our world. But along with its countless benefits, it also presents the risk of cyberattacks. From individuals to small and big organizations, no one is safe from the radar of hackers and cybercriminals.
Of course, one should try their best to be alert and prevent such attacks. But despite your best efforts, what should be your best course of action if you still get hacked? If you act quickly, you can prevent the hackers from doing any substantial damage or getting their hands on sensitive information. So here’s a list of the five most important things you should do right away when you are hacked.
Things to do when you’re hacked
Change your passwords and log out of other devices.
If your email or any online account is hacked, the first and most obvious step is to change the password immediately. If the same account has been logged in on multiple devices, log them out from every other device except the one you are using.
If the hacker has gained access to your account by getting their hands on your password (for example, with a brute force attack or phishing attack), then doing these two things will immediately remove their access to your account.
Notify people you know
One of the common types of cyberattacks is when a hacker gets hold of someone’s account and uses it to spread malicious messages or posts with phishing links so that they can hack more accounts.
So when you get hacked, it also puts other people in your online circle at risk. That’s why the next best thing to do is to inform people you know that you have been hacked and that they should ignore any suspicious messages or posts from your account.
Check your online activity
Once you realize you’ve been hacked, it’s crucial that you determine the motive behind it and what the attackers intend to do. If it’s your social media account, check for recent posts and messages, any changes in your profile, and the activity log. If it’s an email account, check for sent emails or any accounts created using your email. If your bank account/card details have been compromised, contact the bank immediately so that they can take precautionary measures such as temporarily freezing your account or card until things are sorted.
Inspect your device
Another extremely common type of cyberattack is by implanting malware or viruses on your device that leak your info to hackers. So you’d want to check your device(s) as quickly as possible – run a security scan and see if there are any new files or folders you don’t recognize.
As long as the malware is in the device, even changing passwords or login credentials will be useless as the hacker can all track it. You need to detect and remove the malware as soon as possible with a reliable anti-virus software with malware protection features.
Get professional help from third-party agencies
When individuals or small businesses get hacked, the above steps can greatly minimize potential damage and help recover your account. However, large organizations get hacked, and there’s more at stake, such as the entire company’s database, confidential info, customer/client data, etc.
In such cases, you need a more professional response to the attack. The good thing is that many third-party cybersecurity firms offer such services. It’s best to seek help from a reliable agency specializing in cybersecurity incident response plans. Depending on the nature of the attack and the attackers’ intent, such agencies can formulate an immediate action plan to thwart the attack and secure your business data and systems as quickly as possible.
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