What If You Get Hacked

What If You Get Hacked?

Boy! This is a scary one (and it isn’t even Halloween yet!)

It’s a feeling that socks you right in the stomach. Your mind just goes faster and faster as you wonder what’s going on. Who has also been hacked as a result of my intrusion. What should I do? Who do I check with? You have been hit by a hacker. So now what do you do if you get hacked?

This gal's computer has been hacked. Now what?

It is very hard to know What If You Get Hacked? What do you do? You wish it had never happened. But it’s too late Baby now, it’s too late! The hacker may have planted viruses or spoiled date files that could inflict even more damage once you remove the first issue. The best thing you can do in this situation is to restore a CLEAN backup to your computer. You need to be sure that the hacked files won’t be loaded back onto your computer so go back to a time when you know all was well and use the latest CLEAN backup to restore your computer. Most of the time, all your clean files and software programs remain on your computer and they are clean. But to be sure, you could ask your Website Host if they offer complete computer back. This means if something were to happen and remove all your files and programs, they would be safe with your host, and all you would have to do is restore that backup. No re-installations of any programs or looking for any files. It’s all there and will go right back where it was before you were hacked!

Over the last seven or eight years, I have seen a growing number of people reporting on technical forums that they have been hacked.

Recently, however, I am hearing more about cloud-based services intrusions. I didn’t even know that was possible. You know all those services like Dropbox and One-Drive? Don’t you think companies like those would have only the very best in security coverage? I certainly did! But, over and over, the pattern is the same for system administrators – disbelief, denial, anger, embarrassment and action.

Panicking, however, is the last thing you should do when you get hit by a breach.

Here are the five steps I suggest to everyone so they can fix the fall-out.

Shut ‘er Down!

Network Plugins must be shut down.

Network plug isolated on white

If an intruder has gotten into your computer, chances are it came through a network. You’re going to want to disconnect as soon as you can from network to prevent further damage. Especially if your server carries critical functions like payroll and contact information. If your network is on-site (like your office), you can just unplug it. But if your information is being hosted in the cloud, you are going to want to move it somewhere safe! If you are at home and one of your home computers is hacked and you don’t know what to do, start with step 1. Disconnect and shut it down.

Let’s Start Over
You wish it had never happened. You wish you could get a mulligan. But that’s not going happen. Now you may have infected files or implanted data. The absolute quickest route to fixing this would be to restore a CLEAN copy of your backup. Pick the last hacker-free moment and restore your computer data and software from there. If you your server allows for you to back up your entire computer (meaning all your software programs that are installed and all your data files, this is the best way to go). If the hacker has messed with any of your programs, you are going to have to re-install every single program on your computer, manually. Very time-consuming and a PITA!!

Where Did It Come From?
You may have everything up and running again, but how did they get in in the first place? What information was lifted who did it affect from your side? This really isn’t something that most people can do themselves. It’s like hiring a private detective to figure out who got in and how. The more important thing for them to find out is if any of your clients or associates were affected. This is determined by looking at the log files to see if anything looks peculiar. If you are an average computer, everything probably looks peculiar!! The these files have to be fixed or removed.

Let Everyone Know!
You have to let everyone know that your computer has been breached so they can find out if they have been affected themselves. If they have, they also have to let their sphere know to keep the breach from growing and keep it contained. Let everyone know what to do if their computer has been hacked too.

The best strategy for bearing bad news is transparency. It’s hard to have to let your peers know, but you have to do it. It’s probably happened to others and you may never have heard about it. Wouldn’t you rather know so you can look for it? Dropbox never did confirm their breach that affected up to 70 million users in 2012. It kinda felt like being used. Let your peers and associates know what to look for then tell them how you had it fixed. 

It’s Time to Let Them Know What Really Happened

Key On Computer Showing Restricted Password Or Unlocking

Key On Computer Showing Restricted Password Or Unlocking

Not unlike a broken relationship, the hacked person is usually is left wondering if there was something they could have done differently. In this case, the answer is Yes. One of the main ways hackers get it to a computer is by downloaded software and vulnerabilities within the program. Be sure you update regularly and apply all patches diligently. Don’t be sharing your passwords at the bar. 

The last piece of advice from this is to back up regularly, but also store a copy (of the entire system if possible) on an off-site location. This way, if either copy is breached, you still have one clean copy you can use. (Website Magazine_

It may seem like the end of the world when your computer is attacked by a hacker. But remain cool, calm and collected while taking stock of some of the above tips. You can both stop the attack in its tracks and ensure that you become a much tougher target in the future. 

Get your computer checked out before you back it up.

Portrait of a two men reviewing laptop.

Call your tech person to find out if everything

looks good before you make a clean back-up!

Safe Computing to all!

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