Think Before Unknowingly Clicking Malicious URL Links

Fourth in a series of four blog posts on cyber security

Before you click on that URL link, think again. Do you really know where it is going to redirect you? Cybercriminals are using links to lure you to malicious websites, install malware, or trick you into entering your personal information. If you click on the link, you could be providing a cybercriminal with the opportunity to “learn your behavior,” and then expose you to a more targeted phishing attack later.

Before you click, hover your mouse over the link in the email. A box should pop up with another URL, but don’t click on it! Instead, look for the following characteristics to identify a malicious link:

1) Does the domain name match the company sending you the email, including correct spelling?

  • A good link would be http://www.anderscpa.com
  • A potential bad link would be http://www.andercpa-clients.com

2) Are there a bunch of strange characters in the URL link?

  • An example to be cautious of could look like this: Http://%4b%2tiny.cc%1587g5648ads

3) Is the URL link too short? Cybercriminals commonly use shorter links to mask a malicious website. The shorter links also give you a false sense of security.

  • An example could look like this: http://tiny.cc/1

Remember to never click on an unexpected link, hover over the link, investigate the domain name carefully, and when in doubt go to a browser window and type in the company’s website to verify. These steps may take a little extra time but could save you both time and money in the long-run.

Now that you know how to better identify malicious URL links, learn how to recognize phishing and spear phishing attempts and unsafe email attachments. The Anders Technology Group is here to help protect your business from cyber security attacks that could cost you time and money. Our team can implement a cyber security training program within your company to educate employees on the latest best practices to avoid a cyber attack. Contact an Anders advisor to learn more.