Spyware is nothing but a group of malware that spies and collects your personal and sensitive information without your consent. Often the data collected is sold or sent to the individual or a particular organisation, which is used as per their wish. So today we are here to make you understand how Spywares are used to steal your information and what you can do to keep yourself protected from this broad category of malware.
Spywares are often used by cybercriminals to gain access to your personal and sensitive data. This information will further be used to track your online activity and can also be sold to an organization or individual.
Furthermore, Spyware is a group of malware designed to steal your personal data such as passwords as well as your credit card numbers that leads to theft and online banking frauds. This method of stealing your private information is on the rise and used by many cybercriminals, banking Trojans, companies and ad networks.
Types of Spyware and how they work?
Spyware can be seen in the form of Adware, tracking cookies, Trojans, keyloggers, stalkerware, stealware and system monitors. Adware and tracking cookies work similarly they keep an eye on your online activity and displays ads in which you might be interested. Adwares are highly intrusive while the latter one is less also the former one impacts the performance of your device.
While Torjans steal all your sensitive information that includes your passwords and bank account information and further sell it to third-party. This results in making fraudulent purchases, thefts and frauds.
As the name suggests Keyloggers capture every stroke from your keyboard. So basically it eyes on when you log into your online accounts.
Stalkerware only works for mobile phones to track the owners personal as well as professional activities to read your text messages or listen to their conversations. This method is often used by jealous spouses or by a third party.
Stealware is the most common form of spyware designed to make use of online shopping sites awarding credits to websites that assigns traffic to their product pages.
The system monitors records of all the activities of your device from keystrokes, emails and chat-room dialogues to websites hit, programs started, and phone calls made.
All these spyware are distributed in the form of links that can be received via emails, text messages, pop-up windows in a browser, and ads on web pages. When the user clicks on the link it redirects to malicious websites. This activity is popularly known as malvertising. Sometimes an infected file is often distributed pretending to be originating with a trusted source such as a bank or any government organisation. The infected file can be deleted though, but it leaves behind the spyware that continues to snoop.
Spyware is also distributed through malicious apps, however, Google and Apple keep an eye on such apps therefore by removing them from time to time.
How to prevent spyware and stay safe?
- Try using a built-in antivirus to protect yourself from spyware. If you are a Windows user try Windows Defender antivirus, which is free antivirus tool created by Microsoft. While Mac owners can use XProtect, which the Apple own version of Defender antivirus.
- Avoid visiting unscrupulous websites as most of them spread malware by installing spyware through ads pop-ups or by a drive-by download.
- The third-party professional antivirus also tries to keep you stay safe from all types of online threats that also includes spyware. Many of them are free to install but you should not hesitate to buy a subscription.
- Avoid opening or downloading attachments from unknown emails.
- Torrents downloads of course not. Torrent sites are the biggest hub of distributing malicious programs like malware, worms, viruses, and other malicious programs.
- Say yes to periodical system updates. The manufacturers release new updates to fix common bugs and security vulnerabilities. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Avoid downloading apps from third-party websites. Paid software cost you more so we often look for more feasible options and downloads free pirated versions from third-party websites. To make money these free websites install spyware or adware along with the free app.
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