What to really expect when your systems are compromised

Hollywood has us convinced that cyber hacking is always accompanied by moments of intense drama, extended suspense and, just for good measure, a car chase or two. Reality is much closer to a movie that you probably wouldn’t expect—Office Space. The long-enduring memes that you might recall from the film are TPS reports and The Bobs—“What would you say ya do here?”—but the central plot point was a small hack that got bigger than expected.

Unfortunately, if your company’s network gets compromised, it will likely follow that same pattern; start small and then get big. That’s why it’s important to be on the lookout for those indicators—large and small—that might give you an early warning that someone is loose in your systems.

Web-Based Indicators

Some of these indicators are as old as the internet itself. Constant pop-ups, fake protection alerts, or mouse movements that you can’t account for probably mean that someone or something is about to wreak havoc on that device, and later your entire network. This is the easiest way in for a lot of bad actors, making it important to understand and monitor how your employees are engaged in web traffic.

Unwanted Network Actions

What’s that random application that suddenly showed up on one of your devices and later your network? Probably nothing good. When you have lost control over what’s downloaded onto your IT assets, then you know someone has used some type of backdoor to get into your system. This means that in addition to monitoring web access (which could be the backdoor), you also need to know what’s going on with all of your endpoints. Getting ahead of nefarious activity will mitigate the issues you might run into with a hack.

Information Gone Haywire

Of course, the “it’s probably too late for protection” indicator is when your information is actually gone. This is what Office Space’s Peter was afraid of. His small hack turned into $300K stolen overnight, and at that point someone was bound to find out. Without spoiling the movie’s plot, Peter doesn’t get caught, but it all goes to show that sometimes you don’t know you’re compromised until something is missing or you see your information for sale in the dark web underworld.


So Where Do You Go from Here?

Be proactive in protecting your network! Knowing when you are compromised—and preventing that—is a multifaceted process where you need to monitor people, sites, and endpoints. You can’t do this alone, especially if you’re a small business with a small budget. That’s why finding a solution that can meet as many of your needs as possible is so important. LanScope Cat provides all of these solutions into one platform, monitoring web access, IT assets, and your employee’s behaviors, and helping you solve problems in real-time and learn for the future. Unlike in Office Space, we can’t recommend that you burn down the company to remediate the hack. There are other options! By knowing what’s going on with your network and people, you can create processes and policies that will help set the stage for a more protected future.