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  • Nearly every business has an app, and if the app is not secure, neither is the business.
     Nearly every business has an app, and if the app is not secure, neither is the business.

Three Clues Your App Has Been Hacked

The Cyber Edge
October 3, 2017
By Theresa Payton


Every business has an app, and cybercriminals are glad of it.


Apps are one of the main channels consumers use to interact with your business, and nearly every business has one. Because of this, apps are an evident touch point of vulnerability. Cybercriminals have become increasingly sophisticated over the past few years, making app hacks difficult to spot. In fact, most organizations find out too late they’ve been hacked and are left to deal with damage control.

But how can you tell if your company’s app has been compromised? Keep an eye out for these three clues in your everyday operation:

The app isn’t acting by design.

Does your app redirect you to another page? While these malfunctions don’t necessarily mean your app has been compromised, it should raise a red flag as to why it’s acting the way it is. If your app is redirecting you elsewhere, someone may have modified the code, an issue you should investigate before a major disturbance happens. To prevent something like this from happening, regularly interact with your app to analyze unusual behavior.

There are new processes and jobs.

An unknown process is a cue that someone else has control over your app. Make sure you’re monitoring whether your app is processing data at an unusual time. Hackers also tend to create user accounts for themselves as a disguise to slip through the cracks. Regularly check for new users on the back end, especially those with superior privileges. They may be using stolen credentials attempting to access your customers’ private information.

You discover new files.

Once cybercriminals access your app, they can upload malware and run malicious code on your back end. New, unknown files that can’t be accounted for can reroute information, such as customers’ personal and credit card information, to a third-party device. When your team adds a file, make sure it’s thoroughly documented in a separate system—and always review timestamps to ensure files aren’t being modified without proper authorization. If an existing file has been altered, compare it to the earlier version to see what exactly had been compromised.

It’s no longer a matter of if cybercriminals will get into your data, it’s a matter of when. Too often we see compliance driving our security, and while it’s necessary, it does not result in an app that can keep pace with threat actors. Start implementing these three practices into your daily routine, and your apps will become much more difficult for a hacker to compromise.

Theresa Payton is CEO of Fortalice Solutions, a security consulting company, and co-founder of Dark Cubed, a cybersecurity product company. She served as the first female chief information officer at the White House, overseeing information technology operations for President George W. Bush and the more than 3,000 members of the Executive Office of the President. Most recently, she served as head of intelligence on the CBS show Hunted.

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