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What to Do After Clicking a Disastrous Malicious Link

By: Jessica Clifford

Malicious Link

It is a Friday night. You are exhausted from the work week. The bed is calling your name, but you are on your laptop, opening up emails from family, friends, and your favorite store is alerting you about its sale for the weekend. All of a sudden you get a new email.

You rub your itchy, half-shut eyes, and open the email out of curiosity. Supposedly your bank is asking you to change your account’s password. You click on the attached link, unaware that the bank is not even the one you use.

Your stomach drops, heat surges through your body. You are wide awake now. An expecting page uploads. Your screen reads: MALWARE detects on your computer, take action. You want to press okay, but your mind is telling you otherwise.What if this happened to you? Do you know what to do after clicking a malicious link or a virus?

In today’s world, you may face this scenario. There are a few steps that you should be aware in case you ever fall victim to a phishing email.

Step 1: Disconnect and Shut Down

First things first, never click ‘okay’ or ‘continue.’ This will automatically fill your computer with malware – causing you to lose precious files, downloads, apps, and more. Also, do not just click the ‘X,’ because if the malicious site uses a JavaScript, then it can still take control of your computer and download malware.

The best response is to hold the power button for 5-7 seconds to ‘shut down,’ and then unplug your network cable from your computer. When shutting down your computer, do not merely ‘sign off’ and do not press ‘restart.’ At this point, if you have an IT partner, call them to see when it is safe to turn your computer back on.

This is not a sure-fire way to stop the malware, but it is the best option that can prevent spreading the malware or virus to other devices.

Step 2: Run a Security Check

Make sure you run a security audit. After rebooting, you might be able to get onto the Internet completely fine, but a virus could have attached itself to your computer before you were able to shut it down. What you don’t want to do is go on as if nothing happened, because later on, you might misunderstand why your computer is running slowly or why files are beginning to disappear. If you are not familiar with how to run a check then call a professional for extra support.

Have the partner run a malware check or install an anti-malware that can keep you more secure. It may cost you money, but it will keep you or your business better protected and save you money in the long term.

Step 3: Backup Your Data

Small businesses should back up their data. If you have not, then do not panic, check your files – see if everything you need is there. Begin to backup your data through one of the many Cloud-based sites or install a portable backup device onto your computer.

Step 4: Update Your Passwords

Once you are confident that your machine is clear of malware, another important step is to change your credentials. If malware was found on your computer, or a hacker was able to weasel their way in, the last thing you want is for them to have access to all your private information. As always, create strong passwords and do not reuse passwords for other accounts. If there is ever a necessary time to create new and strong passwords, it is after you fall for a phishing scam.

Tips If You Are Thinking About Clicking

There are a few other important things to remember:

First, breaking news topics that become big are picked up by hackers because they the the story interests you. This also happens with popular videos and articles that seem benign at first. You should continuously be wary because they often seem normal; at the top of a Google search list or shared through a social media site.

Secondly, if an unknown source sends the email and it seems urgent, you should be wary. Hackers tend to use urgency and fear of loss to make people click links. Just remember, if there is a major issue, then the sender will use various mediums to contact you, such as phone by mail. So, next time an email asks you to take urgent action, just delete it and communicate with the source.

Third, always check at the bottom of your screen to see if the URL looks shortened or does not use https. Both of these are signs that something could be wrong.

It is easy to fall victim to a phishing email, a malicious link, or a video containing malware. If you need further assistance about what to do after clicking a malicious link, TCS can help. We offer free, no obligation consultations to steer you in the right direction.

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