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November 10, 2019

Recovering from a Cyberattack: Tips and Tricks

If the recent ransomware outbreak taught us anything, it’s that a cyberattack can happen to anyone. Attackers don’t just try to steal information from and incur damages to large corporations. Small businesses and individuals are the most common victims of cyberattacks because of their relatively low awareness.

Falling victim to a cyberattack can be overwhelming. Whether you are a business owner who runs a business from home or a part of a medium enterprise, knowing how to recover from a cyberattack is a handy skill to have. These tips and tricks will help you get started without a problem.

Try to Minimize Downtime

The two things you need to focus on after a cyberattack has occurred are limiting the impact of the attack and recovering to an acceptable state as quickly as possible. In most cases, the former is the more challenging one. You don’t always notice when a cyberattack happens, so you don’t always have the ability to limit the damages.

Recovering from the attack, on the other hand, is a lot simpler. You can restore damaged systems from backup images or do a complete reinstall of your devices. The purpose isn’t to go back to an ideal state immediately. What you want to do is return to an operational level so that your business doesn’t end up losing more time and money because of the attack.

Learn More About the Attack

The more you learn about a cyberattack, the better you’ll be at stopping it from happening again. Learning about a cyberattack after the fact requires you to be more meticulous. You have all the time in the world to identify the breach point, to discover the cause of the breach, and to learn about other factors that improved the attacker’s chances of success.

Computer forensic tools will help with the investigation. If a Mac gets damaged in the attack, for example, free forensic software can help you understand what files were affected and how to best recover them.

Use these details to strengthen your cyber defense. As you gather more information about the attack based on its impact, you will find ways to strengthen your network and systems so that a similar attack cannot affect them again. You can also create new security policies to get everyone involved in protecting business information and systems.

Be a PR Person

When the attack affects data or information about other parties, such as the data of your customers, disclosure needs to happen as early as possible. After all, it is their personal details that have been stolen, and it is your responsibility to make sure that they know about the attack. You may have to assume the role of a PR person to mitigate external risks.

Withholding information about an attack is never an option. You will end up with a bigger problem if news about the information theft or the attack goes public. At that point, you lose all credibility and may not be able to recover from the attack at all. Why risk your business reputation when you can work with your customers on the issue?

Combined, these tips will help you deal with the aftermath of a cyberattack and lessen your chances of experiencing another in the future.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters.

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