What is spyware?
Spyware tracks your activity on a computer, phone, tablet, or other devices. It observes user actions to steal data.
It usually installs itself on a device without a user’s permission. In fact, they may not even notice them. Using spyware, hackers can track key numbers, websites visited, and retrieve username and passwords for those websites. It can track other sensitive info that the user inserts like payment details. Hackers use the spyware to break through accounts and do other illegal activities.
Different types of spyware
They can take different types, each with its own specific functions and purpose.
The four main types include:
Adware: It is a computer program designed for advertising and displaying messages and ads on users’ computers. It generally does not have a risk, but some of them slow down the system and disrupt security software. Under the cover of a friendly software, the adware installs itself on a system with the user’s permission. When the user connects to the internet, then it secretly shows pop-up ads on the computer screen. Some adware collects user information along with spyware and thus sends ads on the infected system. These programs also download other adware and spyware into the infected system, which will slow down the Internet.
Trojans: Trojan horse or simply Trojan accesses the operating system, while it apparently functions well. It installs unwanted data on the system, which often has a backdoor for unauthorized access to the destination computer. These back doors tend to hide from users but may slow down the computer. Trojans do not inject viruses, but they may steal information or damage the host computer. Trojans may find access to target computers through unwanted downloads or installation of online games or network programs.
Cookie tracker: Depending on the hackers’ motivations, third-party monitors online activities. Examples can be web search, history, downloads, etc. for business, marketing or other reasons.
System monitors: It monitors computer activity and records data such as keystrokes, visited sites, emails etc.
How to prevent spyware
If you think a malware infected your device, don’t hesitate to do the following:
- First, you should disconnect your computer and prevent the spread of Trojans to avoid leaking any sensitive information that harms.
- Restart your computer to safe mode and make sure your system limits the least function required for programs and processes. From this point, you can safely delete temporary files to speed up spyware scans.
- If you have disconnected your computer, reconnect or download an anti-spyware program to a USB from an alternate device.