What is Spyware, What Does It Do and How to Protect Yourself from It
Spyware is a tricky thing that can lie in wait for you anywhere online.
Recently, Android spyware was disguised as a necessary system update online. After the installation, this “system update" took over the control of the devices to steal sensitive information.
Who knows where else internet spyware can hide?
Pro tip: You don't know where spyware might hide, so it's better to stay on guard. Clario's all-round cybersecurity solution will make sure you won't click the infected link or land on a malicious website. Download a free 7-day trial today and get yourself professional-grade internet protection with 24/7 expert assistance!
Now, let's dive into what spyware is and what it does and how to protect your devices against it.
- What is spyware?
- How does spyware work?
- What is the purpose of spyware?
- How does spyware infect my computer?
- Spyware types
- How to protect yourself from spyware
What is spyware?
Spyware is a kind of malware that monitors and tracks your device and internet activity to gather information for third parties. It works underground or attaches to your device's operating system. This way, you hardly even know that they are there.
How does spyware work?
Spyware silently infiltrates your devices and begins to obtain important information, such as login details, account credentials, and online activities. Internet spyware is secretive, so you don't even know about its existence until it takes over your computer. It just stays put, keeps monitoring and reporting your activities to third parties.
What is the purpose of spyware?
While spyware is nothing but malicious malware, its purpose is to monitor and steal user data without your consent. When the information is stolen, it sends it to unknown parties looking to make money from your data. These third parties can sell or use your personal information to predict your activities, create a fake online interface or make you susceptible to a scam.
What can spyware do to my computer?
Spyware can take control of your devices and steal your information without you knowing about it. Some of the ways it does this are by recording your keystrokes, hacking your camera or voice calls. It can also change your security settings to give room for more spyware and generate constant pop-ups. When you have too much spyware on your computer, there's hardly any way you will enjoy using it.
Spywares can also slow your devices down. When your devices are breached, the spyware silently attaches to the operating system. Its monitoring and reporting on your activities greatly slows down the speed of your devices too.
How does spyware infect my computer?
There are different ways for your computer to be infiltrated. The most common ways are:
- Web downloads: There are many software pretending to be something else on the internet, especially if they are from unauthorized sources. Once you download them, this can lead to spyware getting into your computer.
- Online Actions: Do you sometimes click on unknown links? Do you ever adjust your browser settings? These are some of the ways you can get spyware on your computer.
- Pop-ups: Not all pop-ups are dangerous but some can be. Clicking and following the instructions on pop-ups may invite unwanted threats onto your device.
When discussing the main types of spyware that can infect your gadgets, four will stand out. These spyware examples have been known to deploy unique tactics in tracking and stealing your information.
- Adware: Used mostly for marketing, adware is a type of spyware that tracks your downloads and browser history. It uses the information from these places to predict your interest in different services and products. It then advertises exact or similar services or products, asking you to take action and make a purchase.
- Trojan: Trojans often appear to you as one of the softwares you will be keen to download and install. For instance, a trojan may disguise itself as a popular app or security update such as MEMZ. All it needs is for you to download it. Once done, a third party controlling it can access your sensitive information.
- Tracking cookies: Tracking cookies work like adware because they serve marketing purposes. They silently invade your downloads and browser history to monitor your preferred products and service activities. They then use this information to give you targeted ads of your previous products or service activities.
- System monitors: They majorly monitor your activities. If you have them in your gadgets now, there are high chances that they are monitoring your behavior.They gather data like your keystrokes, programs launched, visited websites, chatroom dialogues, emails and many more.
How to protect yourself from spyware
As good as the internet is these days, everyone is still susceptible to targeted attacks through different means. But then, this doesn't rule out the fact that you can still protect yourself. Doing the following will help keep you secure from targeted attacks.
- Step 1: Adjust browser security settings: The default security settings of your browser might not be good enough to protect you from spyware. So you need to adjust the settings depending on the browser you use. The main goal is to make your browser block all suspicious pop ups, websites, and plugins to keep you safe.
- Step 2: Always read terms & conditions: What did you hear about terms & conditions? Excessively long, boring and written in technical jargon? But that is where the spyware information that might just save you is included. Software manufacturers usually provide details on how they collect user data in this section, so it is in your best interest to read them.
- Step 3: Avoid pop-ups: If you are on the internet, pop-ups are your permanent, sometimes unwanted, companions. Many of them are enticing and want you to follow through with them. It's in your best interests to avoid clicking on these pop-ups or obey their instructions.
- Step 4: Update your system: Your system's security needs to be maintained regularly, and the way this is done is through the release of system updates. Once you see an advanced version of your browser or system from a trusted source like Google, Microsoft and Apple, be sure to update it.
- Step 5: Prevent the download of suspicious apps: Have you ever gone online and seen some apps with enticing ads making promises too good to be true? Or do you simply feel the urge to access a great-looking yet unreviewed app? Don't do it! Apps not gotten through trusted sites should never be downloaded.
- Step 6: Be careful about emails: Emailing has become a way many third parties use to disguise threats that infiltrate your digital life. If you receive an email from an unknown source telling you to follow a link, be careful. Clicking on these links may land you into more mess than you bargained for.
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Spyware is a real threat to your digital life and your data, but not the only one.
To protect your digital privacy and security, use an all-round solution like Clario. With features like real-time anti-malware protection, unlimited VPN.
That is why it is important to protect your data with reliable software like Clario that will secure your devices from the mentioned threats.