Alert Africa | Inspect links before clicking



 Cyber Security Tip #4 – Inspect links before clicking

Banks will never request your password via email

Quick Tips

 Quick Tips 

Banks will never ask you to send your password or supply other personal information in an email.

If it sounds too good to be true it probably is – don’t click on the link.

Getting Hands On


 Determine if a link is malicious. 

Copy the link. (right-click, copy link – or highlight and press ctrl-C for PC)

Go to

Click on the URL tab.

Paste the link copied earlier.

The result will show if the link is safe or not.

Using VirusTotal is better than just clicking on the link, but it’s important to remember that VirusTotal could indicate that a dangerous link is safe.

If you have a bad feeling about the link – don’t click it, even if VirusTotal says it’s safe! Inspect links (Hyperlinks)

Look for obvious signs of tampering i.e. the sender email & web link are different (i.e. Sender:, Link:

Hover your mouse pointer over the link (without clicking) then compare it to the link  in the bottom left hand corner of your browser.


 Inspect short links (Compressed Links) 

Periodically, you might encounter a short link or compressed link, such as:

When encountering a short link:

Go to

Copy short link (right-click, copy link – or highlight, press ctrl-C for PC / Cmd + C for Mac)

Paste it in at

The full link will then be displayed and you can make your decision from there.

Why Should I Care?

Clicking on a malicious link could result in you giving out personal information and / or your device getting infected with malware which could result in the following:

 Personal Impact  

Identity & personal information theft.

Social media account breach.

Reputational damage, extortion and blackmail due to hacked accounts.

Your bank accounts can be compromised (Hacked).

Access to email accounts, implicating them as set off points.

Criminals can take pictures of you with your webcam / front camera.

Criminals can make audio and / or video recordings of you and your surroundings using your device.

Criminals can use these recordings and pictures for extortion.

Your credit record can be damaged.

Accounts can be opened in your name without your knowledge.

Your email inbox could be flooded with unwanted emails or used to spam your contacts.

Your email inbox could be flooded with unwanted emails. (Spam)



Images of you or your family can be harvested without your permission and used on unsavoury websites.

Untrusted people can track the movements of your family from geotags in certain pictures posted on the web.

Untrusted people (e.g. paedophiles) can gather intelligence on your family from various online sources and attempt to contact your children.


 Device Security 

Criminals can implicate your device in cybercrime.

Your device can become infected with viruses (malware).

Your device can become very slow and sometimes even unresponsive.

Your data usage will go up, resulting in high telephone bills.

Slow Internet connection, due to the malicious applications sending and receiving data.


 Data Security 

There are many incidents that could result in you losing some or all of your valuable data.