Broker Check

You’ve Just Been Hacked. Now What?

December 13, 2018

No matter how proactive you are, there will always be the possibility you’ll be the victim of a cyberattack. However, it can be difficult to determine if you’ve been hacked. 

Fortunately, a cyberattack will often generate some easy-to-spot red flags that signal your system has been breached, including:

  • An anti-virus program has triggered an alert that your system is infected.
  • A computer’s settings have changed.
  • File contents have changed.
  • You find new documents that you did not create.
  • New programs that you did not install are running.
  • Icons for unknown apps, or strange windows keep popping up.
  • Your security program has been uninstalled or deactivated.
  • A password no longer works.

How to respond
The faster you detect a cyberattack and respond to it the better off you’ll be. If you determine your computer or smartphone was hacked, take these steps to block additional attacks and minimize the fallout:

  • Immediately disconnect from the internet.
  • Unplug your router or modem from the wall.
  • Restart your computer in safe mode.
  • Remove any recently installed programs.

Scan and update your computer 
If your anti-virus software alerts you of an infected file, follow the recommended actions to detect other malware or viruses. This usually includes quarantining, cleaning or deleting the file.

Bring in a pro
If your system gets hacked, don’t take matters into your own hands. Hire a cybersecurity analyst to reinstall your operating system, wipe your hard drive clean and retrieve your backup files.

Change passwords
Use a different computer or device that you know is secure to change the passwords. Be sure to change the passwords on all your online accounts as well as on your computers and mobile devices. Make passwords as complex as possible, using a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.

Keep an eye on your financial or credit accounts.
If you believe your personal or financial information has been compromised, contact the appropriate institutions immediately. If credit card information has been compromised, a hacker will attempt to make purchases until that card is blocked.

Consider placing a fraud alert on your files
A fraud alert warns creditors you may have been an identity theft victim, and they should verify any credit requests are coming from you.

Stay vigilant
No one is immune to a cyberattack, but quickly responding to an incident can make the experience less stressful. As a financial advisor, you can no longer afford to think in terms of if you’ll be targeted. You now need to prepare for when your firm will be attacked.

The good news is, there are some easy steps you can take immediately to help secure your practice and your clients’ personal data. With new attacks making headlines every day, I encourage you to take a few minutes to read my latest blog, Tips to Prevent a Cyberattack or contact Iron Point today for a no-obligation coaching call.