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  • Writer's pictureAline Silva | PhishX

What is a malicious link and its risks to an organization?

Malicious links are used by criminals to hack into systems and steal information. This is a very common crime around the world because it is easy to apply.

 

After all, all it takes is for some uninformed person to click on a link for cybercriminals to succeed in their actions.

 

By clicking on this link, people expose companies to some security flaws, such as identity theft and misappropriation of sensitive information. These links can be sent through a variety of channels, such as email or even social media.

 

Therefore, it is very important that people know how to recognize these attacks so that they can protect their online privacy and company information.

 

Keep reading and learn how to recognize and why these links are so harmful to your organization.


But what is a malicious link anyway?


A malicious link is a URL that, when accessed, directs the person to a website or web page designed by criminals to cause damage to devices or steal information.


These links are often used and known to everyone as phishing attacks, where criminals try to trick their victims into providing data, such as passwords, financial information, or personal details.


In the case of companies, when an employee clicks on this link, they provide confidential information that, if it falls into the wrong hands, negatively impacts the organization.

These links can come through a variety of channels, such as:

 

  • Email;

  • SMS;

  • Social media;

  • Chat apps.

 

In this way, victims are taken to fake websites that pose as legitimate, such as banks, online stores, or services. Their goal is to trick people into giving up their information.


Additionally, these links may direct to installations of malware, malicious software designed to harm or exploit any programmable device, service, or network, compromising security and privacy.


What are its risks?


Malicious links are the most agile and effective way that criminals use to attack companies, because it is through these actions that they gain access to information.


For example, when the employee clicks on a malicious website, he can install ransomware on the company's systems, this software can steal information, damage systems, or allow remote control of the computer.


This type of malware encrypts the company's files and with that the criminals demand a ransom to restore them, causing business disruption and possible financial losses.


According to an IBM report, by 2024 these attacks have increased significantly, these numbers can be explained by the profit made by these actions.


That's because when criminals gain access to this information, they're able to sell that data for thousands of dollars to sites on the dark web. Therefore, the trend is that ransomware cases will continue to grow exponentially.


In addition, malicious links exploit vulnerabilities in systems and compromise the security of the network as a whole. Criminals can capture information and use it to access corporate systems or steal sensitive data.


All of these actions have a strong financial impact, undermine data confidentiality, cause problems with laws and regulations, as well as clear damage to the organization's reputation, loss of trust, and potentially loss of business.


Another point that must be considered is that when an attack occurs, services are paralyzed, depending on the attack this outage can last for days and in many cases, companies are unable to recover.


Therefore, it is important for organizations to invest in awareness, trained teams that recognize the risks associated with malicious links, are able to mitigate the risks.


Top Malicious Link Attacks


Now that you know what a malicious link is and why it is a risk to everyone's security, let's introduce you to the main attacks that happen through this cybercrime.


It is necessary to understand that they harm both people and companies, after all we live in a connected world where we use our cell phones to answer work emails or company computers to conduct personal research.


That's why malicious links are so dangerous for the security of companies, any slip, no matter how small, puts everyone's security at risk.


Phishing


Phishing is perhaps the most well-known both among people and companies, it is considered one of the main digital scams. This is a scam in which criminals impersonate people and organizations to deceive their victims.

 

In this way, the cybercriminal pretends to be someone trustworthy, shares malicious links, and gets people to click and share sensitive information.

 

Some emails are so convincing that it's even difficult to identify that it's a fake message, which is why extra attention and constant training are so important.


Malicious apps

 

Another very common scam is malicious apps. Their goal is to steal people's information. That way, when someone downloads that app, criminals steal sensitive information.


These apps tend to be very attractive, using psychological triggers. Therefore, when people download these apps without even realizing or paying attention that it is a fake app.


They give criminals access to information, which can often damage devices, installing malware and compromising their usability.


Online Stores


Another very common way to spread malicious links is through online stores. Nowadays, we live in an increasingly digital world, where people rarely leave their homes to shop.

As a result, criminals take advantage of this new lifestyle of people to apply scams. They use famous and well-known brand names to confuse their victims.


In addition, they offer unmissable promotions. In this way, when you click on this link, data is collected and often these sites are deleted.


As a result, people are left without the product, do not receive a refund of the amount spent, and their information is used to apply scams.

 

Smishing

 

Smishing is a form of phishing that is sent via SMS. They work in the same way, the only difference is the medium by which they are disseminated.

 

Generally, criminals impersonate institutions and collect debts, offer job opportunities, inform you that your card has been cloned, or your account accessed by someone else.

 

Anyway, they use the urgency trigger and make people click on the links and end up falling for this scam. Thus, the person accesses the link, enters their data and password and has their information stolen.


How to protect yourself?


As we have seen, there are numerous scams caused by malicious links, all aimed at stealing information through offers or with unmissable proposals. Many attacks are done in such specific ways that it's hard to identify that they're actually fake links.


This situation has been worsening in recent times, thanks to Artificial Intelligence and its applications, which makes scams increasingly realistic.


However, all attacks have flaws or points of attention that, if well observed, it is possible to protect yourself from. After all, it's easier to avoid a scam than it is to deal with the aftermath of it.


Therefore, the best form of protection is cybersecurity education. Many people don't even know the risks they're facing, which is why awareness is so important.


Companies need to prepare their employees so that they know how to identify and act against attacks coming from malicious links.


PhishX in Protecting Against Malicious Links

 

PhishX is more than just a SaaS platform. It is an ecosystem focused on security knowledge, which makes cybersecurity accessible to everyone, regardless of the communication channel, location, or device used.


With this, organizations are able to talk directly to their employees about the importance of information security and why they should not click on suspicious links and other topics related to cybersecurity.


Direct and clear communication is key to mitigating risks.


With PhishX, institutions are able to create and execute cybersecurity awareness campaigns in an efficient and targeted way, educating their employees about the dangers of phishing attacks and other threats.


We have a platform that brings together various materials on cybersecurity, such as booklets, videos and other tools, which help in the awareness process. Through this content, it is possible to educate your employees.


In addition to campaigns, PhishX allows for real-time communications, ensuring that safety information can be shared instantly with everyone.


This is an essential action to mitigate risks, because in the event of an attack, teams will be aware and know how to protect themselves.


Our platform relies on phishing simulation tests. With this, it is possible to assess the level of maturity of the teams and know how people deal with threats, simulating attacks and identifying areas that need improvement.


With PhishX, you can monitor the results of your campaigns in real-time, allowing you to respond immediately to any attack or threat.


This way, you can track key performance indicators and have a comprehensive view of the state of cybersecurity in your organization.


PhishX is an intuitive and easy-to-use platform. With it, organizations strengthen their cybersecurity posture, protect themselves against threats, and maintain the integrity of their data.




Hands of two people in front of a computer while using their cell phone.
Malicious links hide a series of risks.

 

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