6 Warning Signs That Your NAS Data May be Compromised
Even the best-protected networks can be compromised by intruders or malware.
It's estimated that by 2020, nearly a quarter of the world's population will be impacted by a security breach involving lost or stolen data.
If you run a business with sensitive commercial data or hold sensitive personal data at home on Network Attached Storage devices, a breach could be damaging.
You don't want that information corrupted or in the wrong hands, after all.
But if you're unsure of how to look out for a potential data breach that could affect your NAS data, we've got 6 important warning signs to watch out for.
New Users or Processes
More often than not, intruders to your network will want to work in stealth, but they'll often leave trace evidence of their activities.
If they've used unpatched or unknown exploits to comprise your systems, you may find that a check for running or previously run processes indicate the presence of a breach. A similar check of unusual user accounts with significant privileges could also show an intrusion.
If an unrecognized user has root privileges on your NAS device, they could easily delete everything. A running process that logs, edits and sends any file updates to a remote location could result in data theft or corruption.
It's important to ensure your servers receive critical security updates. You, or your network administrators, should check logs for evidence of intrusions regularly.
Missing or Edited Files or Software
A good way to check for NAS data corruption is by looking at the data itself.
However, if you find evidence of accessed or edited older data and you can't trace the culprit, then your data may already be at risk.
Of course, if you attempt to open those files and they don't open, then that's another obvious sign.
Ensure, too, that critical software is intact without evidence of tampering. As we mentioned earlier, unpatched exploits in software are often used to gain entry to your network or systems. If that's the case, it's likely there will be evidence left behind, so consider using data breach detection tools.
You may find, however, that NAS data recovery is your only option to retrieve any missing or edited files.
Log Messages Can Show Intruders
If you're serious about network security, your critical systems should have logs to help identify intrusions.
Logging inbound and outbound traffic on a network, for instance, could identify an open back door. Intruders can use such backdoors for potential file transfers in or out of your network.
Network logs can also show the origins of any intrusions. If you're based in the United States and you see traffic originating from Russia or China, you might want to start asking questions.
User access logs could also identify any user accounts used by hackers to compromise your data or security.
Network Activity Has Increased
Is your network suddenly slow? Are you finding it impossible to access your data quickly, or do you find your internet access isn't as quick as it should be?
It's important to investigate any possible increase in the network activity on your network, including to any NAS devices attached. Logs provide a wealth of information on previous and current network conditions.
If your NAS data is being compromised as you read this, you might find unauthorized network access already in progress that's impeding your own. An internet slowdown could be evidence that NAS data is being transferred outside of your control, to be sold on or used against you.
Your systems might have been altered for nefarious purposes already. It might sound unlikely, but a NAS drive botnet used to mine cryptocurrencies isn't fantasy.
Firewalls and Malware Protection Has Stopped Working
If you suddenly find your firewall or malware protection is no longer updating or refusing to activate, or even uninstalled, warning bells should be sounding.
Unless specifically instructed to do so, a piece of software won't uninstall. A drive fault could cause software or hardware protection to fail, but this will likely be more obvious and affect your systems from loading.
Malware protection can stop a rogue intruder from utilizing the tools of their trade to cause damage and exploit other systems on your network. A firewall might even stop them accessing anything of importance. Neither, sadly, are infallible, and could themselves have been exploited.
If this is the case, and you find that they are disabled or nonfunctional, you should perform a full audit of your security and systems and check that your NAS data hasn't been accessed or affected.
You've Lost Control
Sometimes, malicious hackers will use stealth. Other times, they'll be blatant, and could cause you to lose complete control of your systems and files.
The WannaCry ransomware is a good example of this on a grand scale. WannaCry recently infected the systems of the UK National Health Service and other organizations across the globe for a simple, but devastating purpose.
By encrypting all of the data on the systems it exploits, the malware holds infected devices at ransom - hence the name 'ransomware'. If you fail to pay up within the time allotted, your data will remain inaccessible forever.
In the UK, WannaCry forced hospitals to shut down and operations to be canceled because their systems were exploitable. On a smaller scale, this could happen to you, and your NAS data could be lost forever.
Whether its WannaCry, another type of ransomware, or just a hacker restricting all user access to themselves, if you lose control of your systems, you lose control of your data.
NAS Data Breaches Can Be Devastating
You can't make your network foolproof, even if you don't allow internet access.
Even a rogue USB storage device on an internal, corporate network can cause damage. Unfortunately, if you see any of the signs we've listed above, your network is likely compromised. Your NAS data may already be inaccessible or unrecoverable.
If you've found evidence of NAS data corruption, get in touch today and see if our data recovery services can help.
Do you have your own warning signs or tips to watch out for? Leave us a comment below.