Tech Tip: You’ve Been Hacked! What’s the First Thing You Should Do?


No matter how diligent you are about security, there’s always a chance you can get hacked. That’s why you need to put a plan in place NOW to protect yourself and your clients, so that damage is minimized. But what should you do if you find out you’ve been hacked?

First, contact your IT department or provider IMMEDIATELY. The faster the pros can address the attack — and determine the extent of the data, applications and machines compromised — the better your chances are of preventing much bigger problems. They’ll go to work on containing the attack and conducting a full scan of your network.

Based on what they discover, they may advise you to contact the local FBI office and your attorney. Your legal responsibilities depend greatly on the type of data accessed. For example, if medical, financial or other confidential records were stolen or accessed, you are legally responsible for notifying those individuals that their data was compromised. Your attorney can best advise you on what you need to do and how to do it.

Alan Edwards, CISM, is chief information officer at Computerware, Inc., in Vienna, Virginia.

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