Cybersecurity Breach Response: 4 Critical Steps To Take

Have you imagined your personal information being exposed? Or are your company’s financial records being scattered everywhere? With almost everything being done online nowadays, there is a chance that your or your company can experience a cybersecurity breach. 

A cybersecurity breach occurs when your data gets exposed or stolen by a cybercriminal. Common cyberattacks are:

  • Ransomware: As the name suggests, you have to pay the cybercriminal a ransom to give you the encryption key to retrieve all your data. 
  • Phishing: A widely used social networking scam that attempts to obtain sensitive information through email.
  • Baiting: Another widely used scam where people are tricked into clicking some offers like free downloadable movies or content, infecting your system with malware.

During this phase, most of your operations will be halted, resulting in a decrease in revenue and loss of clients’ trust. Also, more data will be lost as you try to recover from the breach. Some data which could be taken are the client’s data, financial statements and assets, or your sensitive personal information.

Furthermore, the cybercriminal could sell your data on the black market or the dark web, which other people may use to commit crimes such as identity theft. To prevent this from happening, here are the following critical steps you would want to execute immediately:

Step 1: Confirm The Breach

The first step that you must do is to confirm if a breach has actually occurred. Why do you have to confirm? Scammers will likely send you an email saying that there has been a breach where actually there’s none. Usually, they send you an email like this to get more information from you or your company. Never ever fall from this cheap trick and never respond or click anything from the email. 

You can confirm this by calling the company and asking them if there was a security breach that occurred. Also, determine if your information was one of the stolen data.

If you live in San Antonio and you think there’s a cyberattack that happened, you may call some IT companies in San Antonio, TX and ask for help.

Step 2: Determine What Type Of Data Was Involved

If you receive a confirmation that a breach indeed occurred, the next step to do is to determine which or what type of data was stolen. 

Why does this step matter in addressing the issue? Different information carries different risks. For example, stolen bank information like credit or debit card information can be easily replaced and canceled. However, a stolen social security number (SSN) means you need to request a new one, which can be quite difficult.

Also, your social security number is more sensitive, and fraudsters can do more from it, such as filing claims under your SSN, opening bank accounts and credit cards under your name, or filing fraudulent tax refunds. 

Most importantly, they could breach the access to your healthcare data using your SSN, and impersonate you to receive medical treatment, prescribed medications, and other essential things covered by your insurance. 

Step 3: Contain The Breach 

As much as possible, do not delete crucial evidence that may help you assess how the breach happened and determine the mastermind behind it. After you determine which data was stolen, the next step is to determine the scope of the breach. Check which servers have been compromised and quickly contain them to protect and make sure that other servers will not be breached.

Here are things you should do immediately during a breach:

  • Disconnect and shut down internet connectivity;
  • Install all pending security updates;
  • Disable remote access;
  • Change all passwords, whether they are involved or not;
  • Secure your firewall and maintain its settings.

Also, never use the same password on different accounts and create strong and complicated passwords. This way, the damage from the subsequent breach would be limited. 

Step 4: Assess The Breach

If the attack is more expansive than you imagined and you’re one of the victims, make sure to update and monitor the situation time after time. Also, you have to determine the cause or the one who’s responsible for the attack. If you’re planning to investigate, consider the following questions:

  • Who has access to the infected servers?
  • How and when was the attack initiated?
  • Which system was active during the attack?

Moreover, your security data logs or intrusion detection system may be able to help you determine how the attack was initiated. 

A host-based intrusion detection system (HIDS), according to Liquid Web, can collect data and match network traffic patterns to any known cyberattacks. If the system confirms that your network was attacked, it will then alert you so that you can quickly figure out the cause and prevent as much damage as possible.

Furthermore, it would be difficult to handle the situation alone, so you need to have your professional IT team help you. They’ll know what to do and how to execute a data recovery plan in a heightened situation like this. 


Final Words

It doesn’t matter what type of data or system was lost. All data are sensitive and may be used against you. That’s why the first step you take is crucial to determine how the situation happened and how to recover from it. 

If you think your data have been stolen lately, the best course of action is to report the situation as soon as possible, contact your financial firm to request for a recall of funds, or you may report the breach to Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).