What to Do if you Clicked on a Malicious Link (2023)

By Bill Minahan | November 26, 2019 | 17 Comments

Here’s what to do if you clicked on a phishing link

Clicked on a phishing link?

Check out our phishing attack risk mitigation guide for step-by-step instructions on how to ensure your safety and recovery.

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.

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.

Change your credentials

  • The fourth thing you need to do if you clicked on a phishing link is to change your credentials on the account you received the malicious link on. Multifactor authentication and strong passwords are invaluable to your email security. Check out how to make a strong password here.

Enable web content filtering

  • The fifth 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.

Still unsure of whether your device is infected? Check out our step-by-step Phishing Attack Risk Mitigation Guide.

Protect your Device After a Phishing Attack

What to Do if you Clicked on a Malicious Link (1)

If you suspect your device is infected with malware, then check out our detailed step-by-step guide on how to recover from a phishing attack.

Finally, if you’reinterested in strengthening your security or learning more about cyber security, phishing, and other electronic threats, fill out our form here.

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.

You can always find us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Category: Cyber Security

Tags: antimalware, antiphishing, antivirus, Cyber Awareness, Cyber Security, email scams, malicious links, malware, Phishing, phishing links, Ransomware, web content filtering



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What happens if you accidentally click a malicious link? ›

Your Network and Contacts May Be Exploited

Breaches to your entire network can happen if you click on a phishing link when hackers start sending the people on your contact list further phishing emails, or worse, gain remote access to your computer.

Can you get malware just by clicking on a link? ›

Even just the action of clicking to close out the pop-up ads (also known as adware) or a pop-up phishing scam, can initiate the download of malware.

What if I clicked on a phishing link but did not enter details? ›

If you clicked on a phishing link that took you to a spoofed page and did not enter any personal information or credentials, then you should be fine. However, one danger is that scammers usually know whether or not you clicked on the link. So, they may determine you're a good target to continue pursuing.

What to do when you click on a suspicious link on phone? ›

Android devices are more prone to viruses and malware in general, so opening a phishing link on these phones puts you more at risk. If you do click on a phishing URL, delete any suspicious files, change all passwords (just in case) and run a malware scan using a trusted antivirus Android software.

Can iPhone be hacked by clicking on a link? ›

Just like on your computer, your iPhone can be hacked by clicking on a suspicious website or link. If a website looks or feels "off" check the logos, the spelling, or the URL.

How do I remove malware from my iPhone? ›

Clear your iPhone's browsing history and data

Open Settings and select Safari. Tap Clear History and Website Data. Then tap Clear History and Data. Clearing your iPhone's browsing history should get rid of any iPhone malware that you may have picked up by clicking on a malicious link or visiting an infected website.

What happens if you visit a malicious website? ›

These dangerous sites typically resemble legitimate websites, and your computer can be attacked by simply visiting a malicious website. You may be prompted to download software that your computer appears to need. A hazardous installation can compromise your machine, and your sensitive information as well.

Can you get hacked just by visiting a website? ›

The question “can you get hacked by visiting a website” seems to be floating around the internet a lot. The short answer to it is “yes”, in principle you can. As is often the case, however, the short answer only tells part of the story. The whole story helps to shed a lot more light on internet security.

Can I scan my iPhone for malware? ›

Due to security restrictions on iOS, it is not possible for any app to scan the system or other apps for malware. Apps are not allowed those kinds of permissions, and for that reason, antivirus software on iOS is not possible.

What happens if you click on a scammer link? ›

Clicking through a malicious link embedded in a phishing email can have severe consequences including data theft, account compromise and financial loss. One wrong click can also result in serious reputation damage and significant downtime - or even permanent closure - for businesses.

How do I scan my phone for viruses? ›

You can also use Google Settings to scan your phone for security threats:
  1. Open Apps.
  2. Tap Google Settings.
  3. Tap Security.
  4. Tap Verify apps.
  5. Tap Scan device for security threats.

How do I check for malware on my phone? ›

Scan for Viruses

Go with a trusted name in the security space, such as Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Norton, and McAfee all of which have their own Android antivirus apps. We recommend investing in one, scanning for viruses, and allowing the program to identify and remove any malware it finds.

What if I accidentally clicked on a suspicious link on my Android phone? ›

Once you've realized that you clicked on a phishing link, the first thing you should do is disconnect from the internet. This prevents other devices on your network from getting infected. At the same time, it reduces the risk that sensitive information can be sent out from your device.

What do phishing links look like? ›

A phishing website looks similar to the original one as cybercriminals copy the theme, information, graphics, and other intricate details. It may link some of the pages (like contact us or careers) to those of the original website. It often uses the name of the original website.

What if I accidentally clicked on a suspicious link on my phone Reddit? ›

Most links take you to a (usually fake) page that will ask for certain credentials. As long as you closed the page after you clicked the link you're probably fine, but it's still a good idea to change your password for whatever service the phishing link was trying to access (such as amazon).

How do I know if my iPhone has malware? ›

How To Check Your iPhone for Viruses or Malware
  1. Your iPhone is jailbroken.
  2. You're seeing apps you don't recognize.
  3. You're being inundated with pop-ups.
  4. A spike in cellular data usage.
  5. Your iPhone is overheating.
  6. The battery is draining faster.
  7. Run your iPhone through an antivirus software.

How do I run a virus scan on my iPhone? ›

Since an iPhone cannot have a true virus there is no way to scan for one. If your iOS version is up-to-date (currently iOS 15.5) and you have not jailbroken your iPhone or side loaded apps you have no risk of malware either.

Does resetting iPhone delete malware? ›

Answer: Resetting the phone or clearing all the data will most probably remove any spyware, malware, or virus available on your device. But it should be the last option. First, try deleting unwanted apps and the apps that ask for access to your personal information, then try restoring your device to a previous backup.

Can an iPhone be hacked by visiting a website? ›

iPhones can get hacked from websites, which is why it's best to use antivirus software to scan for malicious sites.

Does resetting iPhone delete spyware? ›

Does a factory reset remove spyware? Restoring your iPhone to its factory settings will wipe it completely clean, removing spyware and other malware in the process.

What should I do if I enter a sketchy website? ›

First, try shutting it down the usual way by clicking the Shutdown option on the Start menu. If you can't get the computer to shut down that way, you can force it to shut down by pressing and holding the PC's Power button. 2 – Turn the computer back on and allow it to boot back up into Windows.

What does a malicious website look like? ›

Telltale signs of a malicious website

For example: The website automatically asks you to run software or download a file when you're not expecting to do so. The website tells you that your device is infected with malware or that your browser extensions or software are out-of-date.

Can a website steal my information? ›

Hackers illegally access devices or websites to steal peoples' personal information, which they use to commit the crimes like theft. Many people shop, bank, and pay bills online. People also store financial information, like credit card or bank account numbers, on their devices.

How can I tell if I have a virus? ›

How to check your Android devices for viruses or malware
  • Download free mobile antivirus. The best way to check for malware on your phone is to use a mobile security app like free AVG Antivirus for Android.
  • Run a scan.
30 Sept 2022

Can my phone get a virus from a website? ›

The most common way for a smartphone to get a virus is by downloading a third-party app. However, this isn't the only way. You can also get them by downloading Office documents, PDFs, by opening infected links in emails, or by visiting a malicious website. Both Android and Apple products can get viruses.

Can an iPhone get a virus? ›

Fortunately for Apple fans, iPhone viruses are extremely rare, but not unheard of. While generally secure, one of the ways iPhones may become vulnerable to viruses is when they are 'jailbroken'.

What happens if you click on a phishing link on iPhone? ›

What Happens If You Click on a Phishing Link? Clicking on a phishing link or opening an attachment in one of these messages may install malware, like viruses, spyware or ransomware, on your device. This is all done behind the scenes, so it is undetectable to the average user.

Can an iPhone get a virus from Safari? ›

Not from Safari itself, but it's possible to get your iPhone infected via Safari. Just as any other browser, Safari can be a getaway for malicious programs and viruses. This is why it's important to avoid clicking on links and ads on the websites you don't trust, and generally avoid suspicious-looking websites.

Can links be malware? ›

Malicious URL is a link created with the purpose of promoting scams, attacks, and frauds. By clicking on an infected URL, you can download ransomware, virus, trojan, or any other type of malware that will compromise your machine or even your network, in the case of a company.

Can clicking a link give your phone a virus? ›

The most common way for a smartphone to get a virus is by downloading a third-party app. However, this isn't the only way. You can also get them by downloading Office documents, PDFs, by opening infected links in emails, or by visiting a malicious website. Both Android and Apple products can get viruses.

How can I check if a link is safe? ›

Use a website safety checker

To find out if a link is safe, just copy/paste the URL into the search box and hit Enter. Google Safe Browsing's URL checker will test the link and report back on the site's legitimacy and reputation in just seconds. It's that easy to use Google's URL scanner.

What happens when you click on a link? ›

Your browser takes that URL, breaks out the name of the web site, and then uses the Domain Name System (DNS) to get an Internet Protocol (IP) address for the site. Your browser then opens a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) connection to the web site over IP.


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