According to AV-Test, the number of malicious programs and unwanted applications recorded since 1984 has gone over 1.2 billion.
What’s more, in the first six months of 2022 alone, there have been 2.8 billion cyberattacks worldwide.
How come hacking incidents have become so prevalent? It’s because technologically inclined criminals can easily bait their targets with dubious links.
So, if you’re thinking, Can I get a virus from clicking a link? you’re asking the right question.
Yes, you can get infected from a link.
Hackers routinely use websites to remotely grab control of your device and steal your sensitive data.
To covertly spread malware, cybercriminals install exploit kits on compromised pages. Alternatively, they may deliver them via malicious pop-ups on legit sites.
Exploit kits are automated programs designed to look for and capitalize on your system’s vulnerabilities. Once they find an opening to install malicious code, they can send a payload to infect your device.
In other words, the exploit kit takes care of the dirty work, allowing the hacker to efficiently target devices en masse.
What are the potential threats?
Typically, the malware payload contains the following threats:
- Viruses — Viruses are self-replicating programs that can wreak havoc on your machine in more ways than one. Since they spread like wildfire, it can be tricky to get rid of them.
- Trojans — Trojans pose as legitimate software. Unlike viruses, they have to be downloaded manually.
- Ransomware — This type of malware holds a compromised device hostage by locking it and encrypting its contents. If the target doesn’t pay up on time, the cybercriminal could delete the files beyond recovery.
- Keyloggers — Keyloggers track everything you type in. They are notorious for stealing login credentials.
- Spyware — As its name suggests, this kind of malicious program monitors your device activity and collects your personal data.
- Drive-by download attacks — One accidental click can download and install all imaginable malware-ridden apps on your device.
How to stay safe
Malware may be widespread, but it’s not unavoidable. To help shield your devices from cyberattacks, follow these simple steps:
There’s a lot to unpack concerning the various phishing methods that could entrap you.
But in a nutshell: don’t take sender display names at face value. Phishing emails, text messages, and chats are so successful because they look legit at first glance.
Moreover, think twice before clicking a link in any communication that contains these red flags:
- Unrealistic offers
- Misleading domain names
- Strange salutations
- Messages asking for money or personal information
- Grammatical errors
- Unsolicited file attachments.
Keep your software updated
If the code in all of your programs is up-to-date and error-free, exploit kits won’t be able to infiltrate your system. So, make sure you install the latest software versions as soon as they’re available.
Install robust antivirus software
A good antivirus program can neutralize a host of malware threats, protect you in real-time, and support scheduled scans.
That’s why we highly recommend TotalAV.
Apart from excelling in the basics, this award-winning product for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android can block tracking cookies. It will also proactively alert you when your sensitive data has been compromised.
Use your firewall
One of the biggest differences between a firewall and an antivirus is that the former primarily protects you from malicious traffic.
When configured properly, a firewall acts as an intermediary between your private network and the public internet. More importantly, it will stop malware from spreading onto your devices through the internet.
Get a password manager
A password manager is more than just a secure vault for your login details. It can help you generate and remember unique credentials. Additionally, it will significantly reduce the threat of keylogging because you won’t need to type in your details.
Can I get a virus from clicking a link? This is a crucial question to ask yourself when improving your cybersecurity.
One simple click can infect you with viruses, trojans, spyware, keyloggers, and more. Attackers mostly rely on pop-ups, exploit kits, and drive-by downloads to spread malware.
Fortunately, by following our recommended security measures, you can minimize the risks. Getting a password manager, firewall, and antivirus can go a long way.