A trusted senior manager has changed their email password and seems to be sending emails to the team requesting they transfer funds into an unknown bank account. You have received a notification that your files will remain encrypted until you pay a ransom. Or, you notice that files are being altered or missing from online storage.
These are all examples (and only a few at that) of cyber security breaches. If your team reports instances like these happening within your company, you will likely feel some panic. What precisely has happened, and how dire will the impact be?
Your immediate response should be to contact your IT company and report the incident. However, what are the next steps in this process? Once you have reached out to your provider, they will move through a process to identify and remove the threat, fix your systems and allow you to get up and running again. Here is some insight into what happens next.
An investigation into the cyber security breach starts
After you have notified them, your cyber security partner will determine the nature and scope of the attack. They will gather as much information as possible about the incident by reviewing system logs, network traffic, unauthorised access attempts, and changes to system configurations.
After identifying the nature of the attack, they will determine the scope of the incident. They will identify the systems affected, compromised users and accounts and encrypted data. If they suspect a threat actor has encrypted your files, they will immediately isolate the affected systems to prevent the ransomware from spreading further.
Another important consideration is whether the attackers are still inside your network. We call this a ‘persistent threat’ and they can be difficult to detect and remove. If attackers are still inside your network, your cyber security partner will isolate affected systems and prevent further access.
Your cyber security partner removes the threat
Your cyber security team will isolate any infected software and devices to prevent threats from spreading further. They will disconnect affected systems from the network, disable compromised accounts, or change passwords to prevent unauthorised access.
Of course, simply removing the threat is not enough; your cyber security partner will take steps to ensure that your systems and data are secure and that the attackers cannot re-enter your network through any back doors they created. They may need to update your security software, implement more robust access controls, or review your incident response plan to identify areas for improvement.
As your cyber security team works to remove the threat and restore normal operations, it’s important to remember that the process may take some time. In some cases, rebuilding affected systems or restoring data from backups may be necessary. However, by taking immediate action to remove the threat and prevent further damage, they can minimise the attack’s impact and protect your business from further harm and downtime.
Review data loss and restore backups
Data loss can occur due to a cyber security breach, such as when threat actors delete, encrypt, or steal data. It’s essential to identify if you have lost data and prioritise its restoration.
Depending on the damage, you might restore backups from a few hours or days ago. Work with your cyber security partner to determine the appropriate backup and complete the process quickly.
It’s also important to review your backup processes to ensure they are sufficient to protect your data from future attacks. You may need to implement more frequent backups, improve your backup retention policies, or work with a specialist backup provider to develop a more robust strategy in future.
Send notifications to your team and customers
Depending on the nature and severity of the incident, you may need to notify your team, customers, partners and regulatory agencies of the cyber security breach. Communication is key in this situation, as it helps to build trust and maintain transparency with your stakeholders.
When crafting your notification, be clear and concise. Outline the nature of the cyber security breach, including the type of attack and the systems or data that were affected. If any data was compromised, provide details on what types of data may have been accessed or stolen. Be sure to highlight any actions you have taken to mitigate the attack’s impact and prevent similar incidents from happening again.
You must follow relevant privacy laws and regulations when communicating the attack. For example, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) requires organisations to notify affected individuals if they could be in serious harm after having their personal information leaked, as specified in the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) Scheme.
Complete a final review
Finally, your cyber security partner will conduct a final review with you to identify any additional vulnerabilities and secure your business. It’s possible that the cyber attack exposed vulnerabilities in your existing policies and procedures, and updating them can help to prevent future incidents.
One key aspect of this review is identifying areas where your organisation can improve its security monitoring. Your cyber security partner might implement new tools or processes to detect and respond to security threats better. It’s also important to provide additional security training for employees on identifying potential threats and reporting them to the appropriate personnel.
Experiencing a cyber security breach is an incredibly stressful experience for any business. However, with a well-planned and executed incident response plan, the attack’s reach can be minimised, and normal operations can be restored quickly. It’s important to remember that cyber security is an ongoing process, and regular reviews of your security measures and employee training can help prevent future attacks.
Why work with alltasksIT on improving your response to a cyber security breach?
Too often, we speak with companies that lack the security practices to protect and respond to today’s cyber threats. We deliver cyber security services in Australia to mitigate phishing attacks, implement firewalls, and secure credentials. We also provide training and information on top of the technical defences to improve your cyber security posture. Visit our Cyber Security Services page for more information on our offerings and expertise.