Last Updated on 3 months by Touhid
In the world of cyberattacks, phishing emails are pretty common, and they send you random attachments like links. These emails seem to be from legitimate sources. As a victim, if you click on a phishing link then you will be compromised by a hacker. In this post, we will discuss what happens if you click on a phishing link and how to prevent phishing links.
This is just one of the adverse effects and there are many more, so to know more keep on reading!
What Is a Phishing Link?
If you mistakenly end up clicking on these links, which are known as phishing links, then you can end up being redirected to a malicious site and all your private and confidential data will be hacked.
A phishing link is a malicious website link created to fool people into thinking it goes to a trustworthy website or other online resource. Actually, these hyperlinks take readers to dangerous or fake websites made by hackers.
Furthermore, these URLs occasionally have the potential to download malware and viruses to your device in the background without your awareness.
Phishing attacks aim to fool users into divulging personal information or installing malicious software. Hackers may sell this valuable data on the Dark Web, use it to get access to other user accounts to obtain more information, or utilize it to begin a more extensive phishing operation.
Phishing URLs frequently show up in texts, emails, and social media communications under the guise of reliable sources like banks, governments, or respectable businesses.
What Happens If You Click on A Phishing Link?
What happens if you click on a phishing link? Don’t panic yet; if you have clicked on a phishing link, you can still secure your account but before that, you need to understand what effects clicking on phishing links can have.
Redirected to a fake website
The main aim of phishing links is to redirect you to fake websites as soon as you click on the link. These websites might look like real sites, but they are basically malicious sites created by hackers with the aim of hacking your system and gaining access to your personal details.
These sites can be of different types starting with banking sites where you are asked to put in your banking details. It can also look like social media sites and as soon as you enter your login credentials, hackers will get them directly and can access your accounts.
Sometimes clicking on a phishing link can cause a virus download that includes dangerous software that can gather data from your device. Therefore, this malicious software has the potential to undermine security, giving attackers remote device control, data theft, or activity monitoring capabilities.
Ransomware is the most common form of virus that is spread via phishing links. It encrypts files on the victim’s computer and effectively holds the data hostage until a ransom is paid. Attacks of this nature have the potential to severely affect people or businesses, resulting in data loss or financial damage.
Grant Access to your devices
What happens if you click on a phishing link? Phishing links often come with spyware attachments; the message content can be tempting, and if you mistakenly download these attachments, spyware and keyloggers can get installed on your device.
Spyware and keyloggers slyly collect private data, such as passwords, bank account details, and browser preferences. The main worry is that credentials that were acquired through phishing attempts can be used fraudulently.
Attackers may begin fraudulent transactions and move money from online banking accounts if they get access to your sensitive information. They can additionally use saved credit card information to make fraudulent transactions on retail websites.
Continue to use your information
Attackers frequently maintain a cycle of continuous exploitation once they have successfully obtained sensitive information through phishing tactics, putting victims in danger for an extended period of time. Furthermore, identity-related offenses can be accessed using the information that has been gathered.
Attackers may use information that has been obtained to pose as victims, creating opportunities for identity theft. This can include asking for loans, establishing new credit lines, carrying out fraud using the victim’s name, and more.
A never-ending cycle of exploitation is also produced by attackers’ frequent trading or selling of stolen data on the dark web. Subterranean marketplaces turn this information into a valuable commodity, which feeds a wider range of cybercrimes than just the original phishing assault.
Can’t log in to your account
After clicking on a phishing link, attackers request you to sign into your account. When you sign in with your username and password, they will hack your login credentials.
So, they can access your accounts to gain sensitive information and can do any illegal activities. Finally, they will change your account password and you can’t log in to your account.
Your device will slow down
What happens if you open an attachment file of a phishing email? If you download and open the attachment file of a phishing email then viruses and malware can install on your device such computer, laptop, or phone.
We know that there are different reasons a device may slow down. The presence of computer viruses or malware is one of them which can slow down your device.
Unable to access the computer
You are unable to access your computer or device if ransomware is installed on your computer. If you click on a phishing link, ransomware can be installed on your computer.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software or program which used to block access to your data and computer. Ransomware is a very dangerous malware that encrypts the data files, making inaccessible of your data and demanding payments in order to access and decrypt the data files.
Symptoms That Show You Have Clicked On A Phishing Link
Due to the complex nature of phishing attacks, it becomes extremely hard to understand whether or not you have become a victim of a phishing attack. However, our experts have found a few common symptoms that can suggest you are a victim of this.
Check if it asks for too much personal information
Legitimate financial institutions or banks usually do not ask for banking credentials as they have an encrypted system where all of your information is encrypted. So, even banking authorities cannot access this data, and transactions are all done through a safe system.
So, if you notice that you received an email with a link asking for your banking info or wanting too much personal information it is probably a phishing email.
Another common mistake these hackers make is spelling mistakes in the email; they mostly do this to avoid spam message filtering. Moreover, they write generic emails and send them to over 1000s of people so spelling mistakes are pretty common.
Legitimate email senders or companies will never have spelling mistakes in their emails. So, carefully look for spelling mistakes in the mail.
Phishing efforts sometimes include pop-ups that appear out of nowhere and ask for personal information or downloads. Although these pop-ups could seem genuine, their true purpose is to trick users into divulging personal information or allowing malware to infect their devices.
Generally speaking, trustworthy businesses don’t use pop-ups to request private information, especially when they appear in unexpected or unwanted windows.
When a link appears to lead somewhere other than what it says, it’s similar to a clever tactic known as URL spoofing. Though it leads to a different location, the link may seem genuine.
Scammers often use it to get your personal information or force you to download malicious software. To avoid falling for these tactics, always verify again before clicking links, input the website URL yourself, or utilize bookmarks.
What To Do If You Click on A Phishing Link?
What happens if you click on a malicious link? If I click on a malicious link, it will redirect to me a malicious website and ask for information. It is sure that I will be compromised by hackers.
Clicking on a phishing link can be quite devastating as it can lead to severe problems like identity theft, financial losses, and more. So, in case you have mistakenly clicked on this link follow these steps below,
Step 1: Turn off your internet connection
As soon as you suspect that you have fallen into the trap of phishing, you should immediately disconnect the hacked device from the internet.
By doing this, you lower the malware’s ability to spread throughout your network and stop it from sending criminals any data it has gathered.
This quick response shields other network-connected devices and helps limit any harm.
Step 2: Change your passwords
It becomes essential to change your passwords if you have clicked on a phishing link. This action helps prevent possible access that hackers could obtain by using stolen credentials.
Give priority to important accounts, such as email and banking. To find strong passwords, you can use any paid password manager; this will not only help to change passwords but also help to manage all of your accounts.
To further improve security, you should make sure you don’t make the common mistake of using the same login information for all of your online accounts.
Step 3: Check your computer for malware
No doubt, this step will be helpful for you to prevent malware and viruses. You should install professional anti-virus software (such as Norton, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Panda, ESET, Avast, and AVG) and malware detection software for scanning your device.
Step 4: Backup files
This is the last step, to protect your data from phishing and malware attacks. Back up all your data in a secure place where the files can’t be accessed by unauthorized persons. So, this backup process helps you restore your data if your data is destroyed by scammers.
Expert Tips To Prevent From Clicking On A Phishing Link
It is always beneficial to prevent yourself from clicking on a phishing link beforehand to avoid the dangers of it. Read these expert tips below to learn how you can do it.
- Perform regular scans: Run regular security scans on your devices to find any pre-existing malware on them.
- Avoid opening attachments from unknown sources: Never open email attachments or follow links from unknown or untrusted sources.
- Carefully check email attachments: Before opening any links or email attachments, make sure to read the email ID and contents very carefully to avoid any security issues.
- Train employee: Educate staff members about the dangers of phishing emails and provide frequent training sessions to increase awareness.
- Keep the operating system and other software updated: To fix weaknesses, be sure to update your operating system, browser, and security software on a regular basis.
Detecting and staying safe from Phishing attacks can be a bit difficult due to the complexity of these attacks. So, if you are still having questions keep on reading our topic “What happens if you click on a phishing link” so, keep reading FAQs below.
Can phishing attacks lead to financial losses?
One of the main aims of phishing attacks is financial losses and hence it can have a great impact on your monetary losses. Phishing is a tactic used by fraudsters to fool people into disclosing private information like credit card numbers, bank account information, or login passwords.
After they have this information, they can use it to get access to your accounts, carry out fraudulent activities, pilfer money, or even sell your private data on the dark web.
How long are phishing sites active?
Luckily, phishing sites do not stay active for long. But before they are taken out by search engines like Google or Bing, the hackers themselves take them out.
Scammers frequently create new phishing sites and deactivate existing ones in an effort to lessen the likelihood that they will be discovered and blacklisted. Phishing websites are often only active for fifteen hours.
Is it possible to send phishing links to your phone?
Yes, phishing can be done even through phone, and phishing links are sent to your text messages and when you click on this, the same thing happens as it does on your computer. Additionally, voice phishing is also done through the phone where you get a call where scammers act as real companies asking for confidential information.
Regardless of the fact whether you run an organization or you are browsing the internet for personal usage, no one is safe from malicious attacks. So, to prevent yourself from falling into a trap from one of these malicious attacks, you should always stay ahead of the scammers.
Learning about the phishing attack is one such step, always make sure to avoid clicking on unknown links in email, text, or anywhere else. Also, before giving out private information in email always double check with the sender.
Finally, you should know that a legitimate user never asks you to send your sensitive information via email or SMS. To protect from phishing links, you just delete the email without any hesitation. Hope the article “What happens if you click on a phishing link” will be helpful for you!
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