A data breach can be very unnerving to any online business owner. It’s easy to feel violated when unauthorized individuals start poking around in your database. What’s worse is that many people don’t realize there has been a data security breach until well after the fact.
While it’s difficult to identify some forms of access, there are signs you can watch for that may show you when someone has accessed your files and there are things you can do to make your web pages unhackable.
So, what are tell-tale signs your data has been affected?
1. Database is Completely Wiped Out
Although this is one of the most obvious signs of a data security breach, it needs to be mentioned. Many databases have been completely wiped out from the simplest of exploits.
In many cases, these systems would have been protected if the administrator simply updated the SQL database software. For example, the SQL Slammer Worm that was distributed in 2003 disabled a large number of databases within minutes.
This worm attacked outdated SQL databases in rapid succession.
2. Unknown Processes Running
If you manage a webserver, you’ll see a large number of processes running. Just like on a Windows-based machine, most of these processes govern over the operating system and background software.
However, an unknown process could be running in the background and siphoning off your data. If you don’t monitor these on a regular basis, you’ll never know just how long these unknown elements could have been running.
3. Your Site Has Been Blacklisted
There are several monitoring organizations on the Internet that will blacklist servers that are corrupted. An example of this is Spam Haus.
Since many ISPs will use this organization to govern over email, your company could be put into a blacklist thanks to an email data breach. This means you’ll no longer be able to send emails until the infection has been cleaned.
4. New Users Appear
New users aren’t necessarily a bad thing, unless they are people that cannot be verified. Some hacks insert users within a database while giving them administrator control.
This means the individual can easily come and go as he or she pleases without raising alarms in basic firewalls. Deleting these users can slow the progression until the unknown application creates a new user again.
5. File Edits
When you look at the properties of certain files, there will be a “date modified” stamp. It’s when files that are not normally accessed show a recent date is when you may have a problem.
Hacked applications could modify those files in order to run coding to steal your data. Often times, these hacks will go on in the background without anyone being the wiser.
6. Unexpected Log Messages
The activity log of your database can help find problems as they occur. Whether it’s activity through FTP or HTTP, these logs register a great deal of activity.
When you start seeing unknown or unexpected problems in these logs, you should become concerned. What makes this so disheartening is that someone could access your data and the only trace you’ll see is in the log.
Unfortunately, not everyone browses the log on a daily basis. If you have a large online company, this could be a full-time job.
7. Longer Load Times
Depending on the size of the database, information retrieval may be relatively quick. If the database has been compromised, access times may suddenly rise. A lot of times, this is due to the database experiencing a great deal of traffic.
It could also signify that there is data corruption within the structure. However, you shouldn’t assume that slow data retrieval is an absolute sign you’ve been hacked. A lot of factors can play into longer load times.
It’s still a good idea to take a closer look at the database to make sure it’s operating as normal.
How to Prevent These Breaches from Happening
Although it’s extremely difficult to completely lock down your data, there are measures you can put into place that will deter the criminal element.
A large portion of those looking to steal or corrupt information is looking for easy targets. These measures which are all available with GreenGeeks can reduce the likelihood your information being stolen by hackers or malicious coding.
Using ID Protect can help you keep an eye on problems that arise from identity theft. If you have data regarding yourself saved on any database, it could be at risk.
This system will give you a warning that something is wrong before it becomes a significant problem. From credit reports to financial statements, the criminal element could use your data against you.
A Secure Sockets Layer is one of the most cost efficient methods to keep data secure on a website. The SSL uses encryption algorithms that connect visitors directly to your information while eliminating the threat of hackers “snooping” for that data.
In other words, it creates a secure connection between a visitor and the website while shielding the information from being seen. It also contributes to better SEO if you want to please search engines.
Cloudflare is a useful tool as it offers a variety of methods to prevent your site from a data security breach. Any website that is in its network is equally protected from various threats.
For example: if another website on the network experiences an attack, Cloudflare will learn how to prevent it and share the information with other websites automatically. The end result is a network of highly protected websites that benefit from each other.
Some of the best forms of keeping your data protected are some of the easiest to implement. While the above services offer incredible security benefits, changing how your organization uses the Internet and databases can be an added bonus.
The following are a few ideas that can contribute to keeping your data protected with the use of the above tools:
- Routine password changes for everyone
- Updating all pieces of software regularly
- Routine scanning of website and database for issues
- Routinely clean up user lists
- Verify validity of all plugins and coding used on websites
Never Assume the Internet is “Safe”
Unless you pull the plug on the Internet and store your data in an offline environment, there is no true way to be absolutely 100% protected. However, implementing the above methods will greatly reduce your risks.
You should never assume that your online activities are going to be ignored by hackers and bots. Make your data more difficult to access by the outside world and protect your assets.