Phishing links infiltrate your inbox with malicious links that can steal or encrypt your data and ruin your devices, here’s what to do if you clicked on a phishing link.
If you’re in a corporate setting, then immediately contact your IT team or a trusted MSP.
If you clicked on a phishing link and suspect your device is infected, then immediately follow the 6 steps below.
Disconnect your device from the internet
The first thing you need to do if you clicked on a phishing link is immediately disconnect your device from the internet. This prevents malware from spreading to other devices connected to your network. If you’re using a wired connection, then simply unplug it from your computer or laptop. If your device is connected to the internet through Wi-Fi, then disconnect it from your network. Also, most malware communicates back to the hacker through the internet.
Back up your device
The second thing you need to do if you clicked on a phishing link is back up your device. If you clicked on a phishing link and suspect malware, then it could damage or erase your data. To back up your data, you can use an external device such as a USB that doesn’t require internet access. Focus on the data that contains sensitive content, irreplaceable files, or corporate information.
Scan your device for malware
The third thing you need to do if you clicked on a phishing link is to scan your device for malware. If you are not tech-savvy or do not have an anti-virus program, you may need to hire a professional to help you check your device for malware. If you have an anti-virus program on your device, run it and have it scan your system. Remove any suspicious files found. However, malware is increasingly disguised as legitimate files which makes it easy for the anti-virus scan to miss. Therefore, bringing your device to a professional is often your best bet to ensure your device is clean.
Lock your computer down
The fourth thing you need to do if you clicked on a phishing link is to lock your computer down. The Center for Internet Security (CIS) has developed a series of benchmarks to strengthen your computer’s security. The details can get quite involved so we recommend using SecureMyDesktop to run a free scan on your computer. Also, you can contact us if you would like to use the tool for your computer.
The sixth thing you need to do if you clicked on a phishing link is to enable security features that protect you from malicious links. If phishing emails are still landing in your inbox, then you should enable web content filtering. That way, even if you click on a link, your browser will block the malicious site before it’s able to infect your device with malware. Web content filtering is a proactive tool to get ahead of phishing attempts.
Enroll in cyber security awareness training
Finally, the best way to prevent yourself from falling victim to phishing links is through education. aNetworks offers online cyber security awareness training that covers a range of cyber threats from phishing, to USB dropping, to ransomware, to social engineering attacks and more. You can enroll in our security training program today by contacting us here. Read more about cyber security awareness training.
Phishing links are one of the most prevalent internet threats to date. It’s important to know the steps to take after you clicked on a phishing link. Furthermore, if you want to know more about phishing attempts and how to avoid them, read more here.