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Navigating a Florida Cyber Attack

02/15/24
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Many Florida businesses face cybersecurity concerns, putting consumers at risk of data breaches. Some of the most highly sought after targets in cybercrime, like healthcare and shipping, have found homes in the Sunshine State. For this reason, learning how to navigate a Florida cyber attack can help protect yourself and your sensitive information from cybercriminals. If your data is exposed during a cyber attack in Florida, you can recover your losses with help from our diligent attorneys.

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What to Do during a Cyberattack?

Here are some signs that you’ve been hacked, and what to do to limit the potential damage:

  1. Take note of any and all strange activity: Issues with hardware may be as obvious as phones or computers that no longer start, or which are having trouble loading certain files. Other software signs may be more difficult to spot. If you hear back from your contacts about emails you never sent them, or are seeing pop-ups for antivirus systems that you never installed, you may have been hacked.
  2. Immediately change your passwords: The first line of defense is a strong password. If you have been hacked, your initial response should be to report the incident and change your passwords on all of your accounts. Note that your passwords should be different for every account and contain a combination of characters.
  3. Scan your computer using anti-viral software: If you have already purchased or downloaded trustworthy anti-malware systems, now is a good time to use them. However, do not fall prey to downloading new anti-viral software from pop-ups. This is a common attempt to further infiltrate already compromised systems.

What to Do after a Cyberattack?

Once you understand the situation, there are several steps you can take to conduct a cybersecurity assessment and ensure that you are responding in the appropriate manner.

Assess the Damage

Different kinds of data breaches come with different consequences. Ransomware, for instance, may hold vital files and information hostage until a sum of money has been paid to the cybercriminals. Ransomware should be reported to law enforcement immediately. Other kinds of viruses and malware are more destructive in nature, seeking to erase or corrupt data so that it is no longer accessible.

Immediate Action Steps after a Cyberattack in Florida

  • Change your passwords: Strong, unique passwords and password managers can help prevent future hacks and minimize the scope of this one.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication (2FA): Two-step or multi-factor authentication limits a cybercriminal’s reach by ensuring that a second device (often a phone or laptop) approves every login.
  • Secure financial accounts: Contact your bank and credit card companies, especially for hacks involving exposed financial information. Notifying them of the situation as soon as possible can ensure that suspicious activities are shut down before you need to make a more difficult case for reimbursement.
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Protect Your Identity from Future Cyberattacks

Here are several steps you can take to protect your identity from future cyber intrusions:

  • Freeze your credit: Because new lines of credit are a relatively liquid process, they are commonly exploited by cybercriminals who have gained access to personal information like your name, address, and taxpayer ID number. A credit freeze, however, is the gold standard tool for preventing unauthorized credit applications. While you must contact each of the credit bureaus individually in order to create an effective credit freeze, doing so can lock down your identity against exploitation if you know that your information has become available on the dark web.
  • Place fraud alerts: Fraud alerts can flag suspicious activity on credit reports, as well as on your credit card accounts. Fraud alerts cannot stop criminals from accessing your accounts but still keep them liquid for your own usage.
  • Monitor credit reports: Certain credit monitoring services can flag suspicious activity and require your business to approve new lines of credit before they are secured.

Long-Term Cyber Security Measures in FL

Cybersecurity is constantly evolving as threat actors change their tactics and intrusion attempts. The following measures can help protect your data in the long-term:

  • Review online privacy settings: You might not realize the amount of information about you that is widely available online. Social media account updates are one of the main ways that cybercriminals can mine information and perpetrate phishing scams. Tightening your privacy settings across online platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and your email accounts can prevent automatic contact sharing and ensure that if one account is hacked, it can be more easily isolated from the rest.
  • Beware phishing scams: Cybercriminals exploit breaches for future phishing attacks by gathering information that they can use to convince users that their messages are legitimate. Phishing scams rely on social engineering, or the trust that is built between two users with common language or shared connections. Social engineering hacks are most effective when they are backed up with legitimate information that a business or employee might not realize can be used against them.
  • Use strong encryption: Investing in encryption software for sensitive data storage and communication can help ensure that your most valuable information is appropriately guarded.

Additional Resources for Cybersecurity in Florida

CyberFlorida was established in 2014 by the Florida Legislature and is still a valuable tool today to help support industry advancements and ensure that businesses and individuals in Florida stay a step ahead of cybercriminals. Consider speaking to credit bureaus and your own financial account managers to ensure that your information is adequately protected.

You can scan for your data online and verify whether your email has been exposed in a data breach through third party sources like “Have I Been Pwned.”

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Was Your Data Compromised in a Florida Cyber Attack? Call a Lawyer.

In Florida, businesses that have been hacked may open themselves up to lawsuits from people whose data has been stolen. If you have questions about navigating a Florida cyber attack or want to know how to recover your losses after a data breach, contact a cybercrime lawyer with Chiappetta Trial Lawyers to see how we may be able to help you today. An initial consultation is free and confidential.

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