In the ever-evolving digital landscape, cyberattacks have become a significant concern for individuals and organizations alike. Recognizing indicators to understand what is a cyberattack, can make a critical difference in safeguarding your data and systems.

Here are eight key indicators of cyberattacks and strategies to counteract them:

Unusual Account Activity

Unusual account activity involves unexpected actions within your accounts

Indicator: You might notice unusual activity in your accounts, such as unrecognized logins, changes in settings, or unexpected password changes.


  • Regularly monitor your accounts for any unusual activity
  • Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add an extra layer of security
  • Change your passwords immediately if you suspect any compromise
  • Use a password manager to generate and store strong passwords.

Unexpected System Behavior

Unexpected system behavior is when your computer or network devices run strangely

Indicator: Your system might behave oddly, such as running slower than usual, crashing frequently, or displaying unusual error messages.


  • Keep your operating system and all software up-to-date with the latest patches and updates
  • Use reputable antivirus and anti-malware software to perform regular scans and remove any detected threats

Phishing Emails

Phishing emails are deceptive messages that attempt to trick you into providing personal information.

Indicator: Receiving suspicious emails that ask for personal information or direct you to unfamiliar websites is a common sign of a phishing attempt.


  • Be cautious of unsolicited emails, especially those that ask for sensitive information
  • Verify the sender’s email address and look for signs of phishing, such as poor grammar and urgent requests
  • Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown sources

Unauthorized Network Activity

Unauthorized network activity refers to unexpected or unusual traffic on your network.

Indicator: Detecting unusual traffic on your network, such as unknown devices connected or unexpected data transfers, can indicate a breach.


  • Regularly monitor your network activity and use firewalls to block unauthorized access
  • Set up intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS) to alert you of suspicious network behavior
  • Ensure your Wi-Fi network is secured with a strong password and encryption

Data Leaks and Breaches

Data leaks and breaches occur when your personal information is exposed.

Indicator: Notifications from services you use about a data breach or finding your personal information leaked online are often clear signs of a security incident.


  • Immediately change your passwords for the affected services and monitor your accounts for suspicious activity
  • Consider using identity theft protection services to help monitor and safeguard your personal information

Social Media Account Compromise

Social media account compromise involves unauthorized access to your social media accounts.

Indicator: Unusual posts, messages, or changes to your social media accounts without your knowledge are signs that your account has been hacked.


  • Change your social media account passwords immediately and enable MFA if available
  • Review your account settings and remove any unauthorized applications or access permissions
  • Report the incident to the social media platform
  • Follow their guidelines for securing your account

The Bottom Line: Recognizing Cyberattacks is Key

Staying vigilant and proactive is key to protecting yourself from cyberattacks. By recognizing these indicators and taking prompt action, you may significantly reduce the risk of a cyberattack.

Keep your systems and software up-to-date, use strong and unique passwords, and educate yourself about the latest cybersecurity threats and best practices. Remember, in the digital world, security is not a one-time task but an ongoing commitment.