The e-mail you just clicked on was a simulated phishing e-mail, the same kind of e-mail that hackers use to steal data. If this had been a real attack, your computer could have been hacked, simply by visiting a webpage.
Phishing refers to sending an e-mail which tricks someone into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. The end goal of phishing is to steal valuable information, such as usernames and passwords.
Clicking on links in phishing e-mails, or filling in confidential information on malicious websites, can put your data at risk - not only the company's but also your personal data. Through phishing emails, attackers can gain access to confidential company data, steal money from your bank accounts, and steal your identity.
The risk is in clicking on links or opening attachments. Attackers can e-mail you infected attachments which install malicious software, or "malware" for short. Clicking on a link can take you to a website which steals login or other valuable information. The website could also install malware on your machine without your knowledge. There is very little risk in simply opening e-mails. In almost all cases, opening an e-mail will not result in compromise.
Phishing emails can be hard to recognize, and every phishing e-mail is different. Here are some telltale signs:
These tests are designed to help you. The lessons learned apply not only to work but to your personal life. Be sure to share with your family and friends. If you have any more questions on what phishing attacks are, or on security in general, feel free to contact your IT security team for more information.