Cybersecurity 101: Signs your small business has been hacked

Image by Katie White from Pixabay

By Henry Brown

Information technologies have radically transformed the business landscape. Modern and disruptive technologies such as social media, cloud computing, the Internet, and microcomputers facilitate communication. Most businesses today can communicate with their clients, partners, and employees in real-time, without the restriction of time and geographical distance. Firms that effectively adopt technology can streamline their operations, identify and use new opportunities, and improve their innovation capital

However, there are downsides to modern technologies that can severely hamper business growth and overall success. One of the biggest and most common drawbacks associated with technologies is a data breach. From stealing and selling private data and information on the dark web to downtime, hackers can paralyze operations. A hacking incident can leave your business reeling from losses worth millions of dollars.

Detecting cybersecurity threats and incidents 

Dealing with hackers is a nightmarish experience due to the sophisticated technologies involved in hacking, making early detection difficult. The following signs are what to look for when you suspect your business has been hacked.

A deluge of spam emails

Spam emails received by your clients from the company’s email address indicate a data security breach. In most cases, hackers gain access to the company’s email credentials and contact list. The deluge of emails is usually sent to trick unsuspecting customers into revealing personal data, such as bank accounts or physical addresses. Always secure your email credentials and check the outgoing emails for any suspicious emails.

Unauthorized changes to computer system settings

Hackers can gain access to your system and change the settings, locking you out. Such breaches are achieved by using malware that gains control of your computer and changes administrator settings, including passwords. Hackers can perform nefarious activities, including data mining, erasure, or alteration. In some cases, unauthorized system access results from carelessness by employees. Therefore, train your employees on IT and ensure they learn more about Data Center Security Standards.

Unauthorized and unusual financial transactions

Once hackers gain access to your system, they may perform a wide range of malicious financial transactions. In some cases, hackers may transfer seemingly negligible amounts of funds to other accounts. In extreme cases, your bank accounts may be wiped clean. Therefore, reinforce the security of your bank accounts and computer systems. Additionally, always be on the lookout for even the smallest yet unusual financial transactions.

Odd computer and device activities

Odd computer behaviors can range from rejecting passwords to slowed performance, unusual and irrelevant or random popup messages, and unwelcome installations. Other odd behaviors to look out for include internet searches redirecting, slow network, flickering monitors, and abnormal cursor movements.

Unauthorized and unexplained file changes

Cybercriminals can change the file format, content, or access privileges. In some cases, hackers may modify the content or delete files. Such activities are red flags that your business may be getting hacked. To prevent this from happening, you should install security monitoring systems to detect and handle these security threats in real-time.

Bottom Line

Computers and the Internet create a plethora of business opportunities for organizations. However, as you embrace technology, don’t ignore cybersecurity. Put in place safeguards for early data breach detection and prevention.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.


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