I think I've clicked a phishing link, what should I do?

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Steps to take after clicking a malicious link

Posted on 16 May 2019 by Beaming Support

Emails with suspicious attachments are common nowadays and if you think you’ve been sent something untoward, we advise that you delete the email without opening it or using any links within it.

You can find more advice on recognising suspicious emails, links and attachments here.

If you have been tricked into clicking a link or downloading an attachment, then suddenly realised it may not be all that it seems, we would advise that you take action fast. This is our advised plan of action if you think you’ve clicked a suspicious link.

  1. Disconnect from your network straight away, so that even if you damage your PC, the harm can’t be spread to others. Disconnect the wireless and/ or remove the network cable to stop your PC from auto-sending emails to your address book or infecting shared files on your network.
  2. Next, run a virus scan and a malware scan to check for any harmful files. If any are found then use your anti-virus application to remove the files.
  3. As a precaution, we would advise to change your email account password. This is just in case your password was breached after you clicked on the link and will prevent further access. Once reset the old password will no longer work and your account should be safe. Just make sure it’s a strong password that’s very different from your previous one. There’s advice on that here.
  4.  The email itself should also be permanently deleted from your mailbox to prevent further incidents. Use shift + delete to bypass the recycling bin.
  5. Block further emails from this sender. The method for doing this will be dependent on the application you are using to access your emails. For example, when using Outlook, prior to deleting the email you would right click on the email and choose Junk Email -> Add Sender to Block Senders List. This means any future attempts to email you will be blocked.
  6.  Don’t keep it to yourself! The person with overall responsibility for network administration and cyber security in your company should be made aware of the issue in order to give your network the best possible chance of surviving a potential breach.. Even if no harm has been done, it may be that the incident flags up the need for further training.
  7.  It may also be worth mentioning this issue to your contacts because if you didn’t manage to carry out step one swiftly enough, your account may have been used to spread the attack and they may have received an email from you containing the malicious link.

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