What to do if you accidentally click that phishing link

(NC) For many of us, fishing is a treasured pastime. But none of us wants to get caught in a “phishing” scam. That’s when cyber criminals send you a message, like an email, text message, or something on social media, pretending to be someone you know or someone in authority. They try to trick you into clicking on a link or downloading an attachment, which turns out to be malicious software – or “malware” – that can take control of your computer.

What to do if you fall victim to the attack

If you downloaded malware, step one is to disconnect from the network to try to prevent other devices from being infected. Next, you’ll need a malware removal tool or a computer technician to try and remove the malware.

Then, if you provided sensitive or financial information at some point, you’ll need to change your passwords on your most important accounts. Let your financial institutions know about malware on your systems, so they can monitor your accounts and prevent further damage.

How to prevent future attacks

If you’re not already doing it, you should regularly back up your files to an external storage device or in a cloud-based system so that you can return access and restore your systems after an attack.

You should also install anti-virus and anti-malware software on your computer. This will scan incoming messages for potential threats before they land in your inbox.

Only download files that you’ve confirmed came from a trusted source and avoid clicking on anything suspicious. Check the email address that the file came from – often the details don’t match who it’s supposed to be coming from.

Find more tips on how to protect yourself at getcybersafe.ca/en/resources/