In today’s digital world, it’s no surprise that data is the most sought-after asset when it comes to theft and cyber crime. Unlike tangible theft, where you can see in physical form exactly what has been taken, with cyber attacks, the effects of a hack or breach can take time to surface. 

The question of how long does it take to detect a cyber attack is one that, unfortunately, has no definitive answer, but in unfortunate situations where businesses find out they have been hacked, this is often too late and the damage has been done. In some cases, it can exceed hundreds of days before a breach is detected.

Threat detection is one of the most crucial elements of cyber security and, if you have a proactive cyber security defence in place, you will discover a cyber attack quicker than those businesses that don’t. With more and more businesses experiencing cyber attacks, let’s take a look at how long it takes to detect a cyber attack and what you can do to further protect your business. 


The lifecycle of a cyber attack

The lifecycle of a cyber attack is referred to as the time which has elapsed between the initial detection and containment of the breach or attack. The detection time is the length of time that it takes for a business to identify a cyber incident has occurred, whilst the response time is how long it takes to restore networks or services once a cyber incident has been initially detected. 

So, how long does it take to detect a cyber attack? In IBM’s 2022 data security report, it was reported that it took an average of 277 days – roughly 9 months – for businesses to identify and report a data breach. Stolen or compromised credentials were the most common cause of a data breach in 2022, and these types of attacks took around 327 days to identify. It costs roughly $4.35 million to recover from a data breach and attacks on the healthcare industry were the highest. 

This data shows that, as a business, it is not only beneficial from a security standpoint but a financial one too, to ensure that your business is protected against cyber attacks. Learning how to protect your networks and systems against cyber crime means that it is more likely that you will be alerted to or notice the signs of a potential hack. 


How to detect a cyber attack 

Cyber criminals are very clever in that their work is often quiet and largely unnoticeable when done bit by bit. It is unlikely for cyber criminals to go into full attack mode once they have gained access to your network and instead, they will take a stealthy and long-term approach to get what they want. This means that when it comes to spotting the signs of a cyber attack, you need to keep an eye out and monitor your networks regularly for signs such as:


Unexplained activity

Most cyber attacks will occur within your network and when a hacker gains access to this, you may notice an increased level of activity within the network, or perhaps an increase in the number of users with access. If your network is unexplainably slow, then be sure to investigate what may be causing this. When a hacker gains access, they will begin to download data and files, which may impact your network’s speed. 


Unusual password incidents

If one or more of your team find that they can’t log into your network or systems as they usually would and haven’t changed their passwords, then you should carry out a network or cyber security audit. You may find other instances such as your systems reporting that a user is logged in when they aren’t or are out of the office, or receiving a notification email informing you that your password has been changed or updated. 


Test your network security 

By regularly testing your network security, you will be able to find any loopholes or weaknesses in your defence that criminals may take advantage of. If you don’t have any network security in place or aren’t sure what cyber defences your business has to protect against hackers, get in touch with CYFOR Secure today and our team will be able to best advise on what approach you should take with your cyber security measures. 


How to reduce how long it takes to detect a cyber attack

Cyber attacks can be costly and, the longer they are left unnoticed, the more damage can be done to your business. In order to lessen how much financial and reputation damage you need to recover in the event of a cyber attack, knowing more about what you can do to reduce how long it takes to detect a cyber attack is important. 


Have an incident response plan in place

Being able to counter the ever-expanding list of security risks begins with having an incident response plan in place. At CYFOR Secure, we offer incident response retainers so that, in the event that you ever notice a cyber attack, our team can act quickly and efficiently, reducing the risks caused by a breach or attack. 


Provide training and awareness

One of the most effective ways to reduce how long it takes to detect a cyber attack is to educate and train your employees to spot any potential signs that something might not be right. Human error is one of the biggest causes of hackers gaining access to networks and data, so businesses should be taking a proactive approach in providing cyber security training so that, in the event a hack does occur, it should be quickly spotted. 


Regularly change passwords

Regularly changing the passwords used within your business can help to block hackers from either initially gaining access to your network, or blocking them out if they try to regain access following a previous breach. Ask your employees to set strong, unique passwords for each network, system or device they need to log in to and send out reminders or set up password expiration dates to encourage them to change their passwords regularly. 


Keeping your business secure

No matter the size of your business, you should ensure that your data and networks are protected. Unfortunately, it is now a matter of when, not if, a cyber attack happens on your business. Implementing a proper cyber security strategy can help protect your business from suffering financial and reputational damage, as well as data loss, and reduce the time of how long it takes to detect a cyber attack. 


For more information on cyber security, or to implement a cyber security strategy for your business, contact CYFOR Secure today