The term spyware refers to malicious software used by cybercriminals to break into your computer and access data without your knowledge or permission, and pass it on to others for their own purposes. In some cases, spyware may be used legally for advertising purposes, through which the advertiser may collect information about a segment of user behavior.
Hacker’s most common goal is to use spyware to access information such as passwords for various accounts or information about bank accounts and credit cards of users. In addition, this way they can reach the user’s location, and such software is usually installed on the user’s mobile phone to know the location of the target person.
Since spyware is difficult to detect on a mobile phone, you should pay attention to battery life, processor performance and speed of internet connection, because potential hidden spyware will have an impact on these things. You can always download some software that serves as protection against such attacks, which will prevent the installation of the program or by scanning to remove previously installed spyware from your device.
How Does Spyware Work?
There must first be a way for the spyware to be installed on your device. Scammers usually use various sites where it is possible to download secure programs for other purposes. Often through the so-called “bundleware”. They know how to “pack” multiple programs into one download, so that the user who intends to download a secure program with downloads also has the covered spyware. A license agreement written in such a way that the user must install the entire bundle program in order to get the desired software, which puts him at risk of malware, is often used.
Of course, there are other ways cybercriminals try to get spyware into your device, such as via email, in the hopes that a user will access the spyware download link on a computer.
Once spyware is installed it starts to slow down the device from the background affecting the performance and speed of all other programs. In addition to monitoring user activity, cybercriminals can view user passwords, emails and other sensitive information via spyware. Some more advanced versions of spyware can even secretly change settings on your device, further lowering system security and increasing the risk of other attacks.
Such software can change the settings on some older antivirus solutions and turn off the firewall option. Therefore, it is very important that you have the latest version of the anti virus program available to you.
You can always search the internet for useful content and advice from IT experts who can help you with such issues.
Types of Spyware
There are several types of spyware software. They differ in how much damage they do to your device, how they get into your system, and the intentions of cybercriminals.
The different types of spyware programs are as follows:
- Trojans – probably the first thought that comes to mind when you mention a computer virus. This is malicious software that can cause serious damage to your system, such as: deleting data and changing the settings on your device. It got its name because it enters the user’s system by downloading a falsely presented program, which is actually a malware program.
- Adware – is software that has the ability to track user activities. Monitoring can be for marketing purposes when advertisers pay for certain user behavior data, while adware can be used for illegal purposes such as monitoring user activity to gain access to sensitive information.
- Mobile spyware – It is a type of malware that is used to infect smartphones and tablets. Most often, cybercriminals send infected links via text messages to users. When the device is infected, fraudsters can spy on the user through a microphone and camera, and even determine the user’s location via GPS.
How to Protect Yourself From Spyware
The best way to protect against spyware is to browse the Internet responsibly and carefully. There are a few guidelines you need to follow to reduce your risk of spyware attacks. Those guidelines are as follows:
- Use two-factor authentication;
- Do not open email attachments from unknown addresses;
- Keep the firewall protection on;
- Don’t download anything from sites you don’t trust completely;
- Install a good antivirus software solution on your device;
- Use a pop-up blocker on your browser.
As we have seen, there are several ways in which attempts are made to compromise the cyber security of users with spyware. That’s why it’s important to understand how spyware comes in and affects the systems of our devices. Cybercriminals are trying in every way to get sensitive information that they can eventually make money with. It is crucial to avoid harmful malware getting into your system at all through the above instructions.