Have I Been Hacked? How common it is and what you can do about it.

Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that business in 2021 will fall victim to a ransomware attack every 11 seconds, down from every 14 seconds in 2019.

In the digital age, it’s almost certain that at least some portion of your personal data or information has been compromised. For most people, this may be what appears fairly inconsequential information like an email or birthdate. However, for many this compromised data covers far more significant information like bank details and medical records.

How Common is Hacking?

The likelihood that someone has attempted to access your personal data or information before is extremely high. However the scale and sophistication of the attacks will likely depend on your threat level, for example, an average person would unlikely face the extremely sophisticated attacks that a politician or CEO may receive.

The average person will receive mostly automated hacking attempts such as malware or phishing attacks. These attempts can occur almost daily but most can be easily avoided with basic cyber security practices that we will be touching on later in the article. These attacks will typically come in the form of pop-ups and emails posing as someone you trust, trying to gain a foothold within your computer. Although these automated attacks have a low success rate, they are so frequent in their nature, that one will likely compromise data eventually without proper cyber security practices.

Furthering this 'low-value' data taken from these automated attempts, such as an email or birth date, are often used to build more credible and believable attempts in the future, searching for higher-value information like bank details.

Higher threat level individuals such as CEO’s, high net-worth individuals and politicians are far more likely to receive sophisticated hacking attempts. Hackers may silently, electronically monitor these individuals for months to gather the personal, family and financial details needed to create sophisticated, personalised and believable attacks. Hackers have been known to go as far as posing as family members to ask for money or creating realistic invoices from real business clients.

How to Find Out if I’ve Been Hacked.

You can check out ‘Have I Been Pwned?’, a free website that allows you to enter your email to check if it has been compromised in a data breach.

Also, look out for these signs:

  • Your password, username or personal details have changed on a website or application.

  • You have been locked out of an account.

  • You notice unusual emails.

  • Unusual charges to your bank account.

  • New icons or applications added to your computer.

  • Files on your computer are moved or deleted.

What To Do if You’ve Been Hacked.

1. If you suspect that you have been hacked, the first thing you should do is change the password on the compromised account and any other accounts that use the same password. If you have been locked out of the account by the hacker, that may not be possible, regardless proceed to the next step.

2. Get in contact with the company or provider that owns the account that was compromised. These companies will have a procedure for hacked accounts, these can be found through a google search or by contacting them directly.

3. Run your antivirus software to scan and remove malware that may have been downloaded.

4. The hackers may attempt to contact you by email or through the compromised account to extort money or attempt to gain deeper access to your information. Do not click any links attached to these messages as they may compromise you further.

5. Depending on the importance of the hacked data and the demands of the hacker, you may want to get in touch with the police. Cyber crimes can also be reported to the Australian government here.

How to Avoid Being Hacked.

  • Wherever possible use multi-factor authentication: Most platforms now offer two-factor authentication linked to your email, phone or an authenticator app. This will eliminate the risk of most automated hacking attempts.

  • Practice good password management: A password should be a minimum of 8 characters but preferably upwards of 13 with a mixture of special characters and numbers. You should use a different password on every account and store these passwords within a secure password manager.

  • Think about the information you share: You need to think about what information you put out there and be conscious of the fact that there is always the possibility it could become compromised. If it is not necessary to share the information, or having it compromised would be extremely detrimental, rethink your need to put it out there.

  • Share confidential information on a secure platform: If you are sharing confidential information such as financial details, intellectual property or anything you don’t want someone else seeing, use a secure sharing platform like DekkoSecure. Dekko uses advanced security and end-to-end encryption on file sharing, video conferencing, emailing and instant messaging to allow you to communicate simply and securely without the risk of being hacked.

DekkoSecure offers a complete product suite of communication and collaboration tools, all built within a security by design framework. To get more information on our products or start a free trial, visit: https://www.dekkosecure.com/.