What to do if you have clicked on a malicious link

Oh no- It happened anyway.. You clicked on a malicious link and what to do now?
In the last year up to 88% of UK businesses have suffered a breach- most of these coming from phishing emails. Afterwards about a third of  businesses state that they have lost customers because of it. But still we see that 22% of businesses do not regularly provide their employees with awareness training. This making phishing emails one of the biggest cyber security threats at the moment. 
So what to do if you have clicked on a malicious link?
If you happen to click on a malicious link or if you have downloaded a malicious attachment, you need to follow the 7 steps below. 

7 Steps To Take If You Have Clicked On A Malicious Link

Disconnect your device

The very first thing you have to do if you believe you have clicked on a malicious link, is to get your device offline. Immediately you will need to turn off the wifi from the device which you believe is compromised. If you are on a wired connection, you can simply pull out the network cable. Taking your compromised device offline will reduce or even stop the malware spreading to any other devices on your network. Finally this will stop any sending of sensitive information from your device, while also denying someone from remotely accessing your device. 

Notify your IT department

After disconnecting your device, you should notify your IT department. They might want to take over your device, or check if the malware has already spread to any other devices on your network. Therefore it is important that you act quick if you believe you have been compromised.

Back up your files

If you have clicked on a malicious link and are suspecting it contains malware- it could possible erase or damage the data on your device. Since you are now offline, you should back up your data on an external device using e.g. an USB.
Depending on how often you back up your devices, you should focus on the most sensitive and irreplaceable files that you have got saved. 

Scan your system for malware

Now you need to scan your device from malware to confirm if it has been infiltrated. You probably want to let your IT department take care of this step, as it is the most secure way to fully know if your device is completely clean. 
You must also make sure that your device runs a good antivirus programme, because when it comes to malware it is always best to be proactive.

Change your credentials

If you believe there might be a security breach on your device, you should change your credentials immediately. If malware has spread, it can harvest sensitive information on your device as well as online. This means that passwords, bank information, credit card numbers and identifying information will be at risk.
This information can be taken from all your online accounts, and therefore you shouldn’t make the mistake of having the same usernames and passwords on all your accounts.
Make it difficult for the criminals and secure your information!

Enable web content filtering

You need to be sure that you don’t make the same mistake twice! If you are still receiving phishing emails like most of us do, you need to enable web content filtering. By doing so you can protect your device even if you click on a malicious link. Web filtering will enable your browser to block the malicious site even before it can infect your device. 

Enrol in cyber security awareness training

The very best thing you can do to prevent yourself and your business from falling victim of a phishing attack is to enrol in awareness training.
We offer a highly customisable awareness training solution for your entire organisation. It covers ‘real life’ situations targeting your specific industry, to make it relatable for the employees. 
Our awareness training solution provides your business with courses, guidance and additionally training of your employees about cyber security. Furthermore we will offer a range of high quality, customisable campaigns for your business to test your employees. As a part of the solution data is provided, and this will finally allow you to see how the security improves over time.

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