What is spyware?

What is spyware?

Have you ever had the feeling that someone is watching even when you know that there is no one in your room? Or have you ever felt that someone is spying on you through the little peephole of a camera installed at the forehead of your laptop? Well, unfortunately, we are here to tell you that those thoughts may be a little more than just irrational paranoia.

Spyware is a form of malware that does exactly as its name suggests- it allows the attacker to be able to spy on your activity and possibly become aware of sensitive information such as passwords and credit card numbers, making it a major breach of security and privacy. Not only does spyware take note of your actions performed on the computer system, but it also has the ability to assess and report your online browsing and internet usage habits, subsequently using this information to your disadvantage. Your information can then be used to commit illegal activity which may land you into a whole new host of troubles.

Spyware may enter your system through a number of different means, often attaching itself to some corrupted files or attachments and installing itself onto your system. It may even come attached to a file to download from the internet if you choose to skip reading the terms and conditions and give it permission to make changes to your system anyway.

Just like an actual spy, spyware works sneakily in the background, often going by undetected by the user or their system as it secretly collects information and reports it back to the attacker for an unspecified length of time. The kind of information it collects includes passwords, email addresses, credit card numbers, usernames and other authentication information, keystrokes, internet history, and browsing patterns.

Spyware can generally be divided into four different types based on the kind of information it collects and what it does with it. This includes adware, tracking cookies, system monitors, and Trojans.

The main purpose of adware is to increase the frequency and intensity of pop up advertisements that appear on your screen. In order to determine the products and services you are more interested in so as to drive a more focused ad campaign based on your likes and dislikes, this kind of spyware will take note of browsing history and internet activity so that it can market related products and services to you down the line.

Tracking Cookies
These spyware track your online activity, collecting cookies from your search history and the pages you visit to drive specific marketing campaigns.

System Monitors
System monitors are large, umbrella spyware which can record your history, search patterns, program usage, emails, as well as keystrokes.

Trojans are hidden software that disguise themselves as legitimate, tricking you into downloading and installing them onto your system so that they can access sensitive information such as banking information.

Contact us today to find out how we can help protect you.

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