Spyware is a horrifyingly mysterious part of the internet used for malign activities that can put you and your secret data at higher risk of public exposure. It is essential to educate yourself about the dangers of spywares so that you can stay protected from getting your sensitive information revealed to hackers. In today’s technologically advanced world, it is relatively easy to get your systems hacked. Instead of fearing, you should stay updated with the dangers of cyberattacks and be able to handle the situation cautiously. In order to stay safe, you have to empower yourself first with correct information.
What is Spyware?
Spywares are malicious software used by hackers to obtain personal information from a user’s device via the internet. Spyware tempers with regular functioning of a device. In many cases, the presence of a spyware remains latent and is too tricky to detect. It can only be detected in case of major attacks that result in severe lag while accessing your device and difficulty in logging in your accounts.
Usually, a spyware is disguised as some other app by encrypting itself in that application’s software to mask its visibility from the eyes of the user. It’s something we have only seen in movies but it’s too real to be ignored. As the name itself suggests, spyware is a tool used to spy on a person without their knowledge, it works by installing itself on your device and traces your online behavior and activities without your permission. Mostly, other businesses and parties use spywares to gather information about their competitors in the market. Sometimes, advertisers or marketing companies employ spyware to find out new data statistics about other firms by naming it ‘adware’.
Spywares make use of the internet to steal your private information which might be anything depending on the hacker’s interest including your name, address, transaction history, browsing history, and your interests based on your habits. Severe hijacks may cause your computer to automatically make calls and send texts without your permission and direct your browser to jump to another site. Most of the cybercrimes occur because of ‘keylogger’ spyware. Keyloggers steal your login information such as username, login id and passwords.
Symptoms of a spyware infection include unwanted activities and affected overall performance of a device. It may devour a CPU’s abilities, disk space and a user’s network. It sets in difficulties such as network crashing, system freezing, reboot failure, and other instabilities.
Spywares to Watch Out For
There are various ways of letting a spyware enter your system with your own consent such as by clicking on a misleading pop-up window, in the form of a trojan with a software, or by downloading an app. Here we have discussed some spywares to make you aware of their way of working and how to stay protected from them.
PhoneSpy is a specially designed software for mobile phones. This spyware program disguises itself as another software or application. It can camouflage itself as a gaming app, internet browser, or any other social media app that is installed on your phone. This is a smart strategy to stay hidden for a longer time in a person’s phone, making it extremely dangerous and difficult to detect. This is the best example of phishing tricks used by hackers online. This spyware makes every single information available on your mobile prone to getting leaked. Its applications such as GPS monitoring and screen recording, makes it even more dangerous by posing risk to the user’s personal information. The only way to protect yourself from being spied on is to avoid installing unauthorized apps which are not available in the app store. Also, keep an eye on details of the applications you already have.
The name itself suggests what kind of spyware Infostealers is. It gathers a user’s private information. It steals your device’s details such as records, passwords, and personal documents. Such information will be used for either selling to your competition in the market or for the hacker’s own advantage. Normally, Infostealer infects your system while using internet browsers. You provide them information with your own bare hands while thinking you’re entering the data on some other online platform. Hackers add additional forums to websites, leading you to provide that information directly to the hacker. That’s why you should be extremely careful while filling out online forms and surveys.
Keyloggers are also known as “system monitors”. This spyware is used to trace a user’s keyboard usage, making their username, passwords and other important information susceptible to getting leaked. Extra superior keylogger software also possesses the ability to track your online visual activity while you’re online on your computer. If your passwords are not blocked on screen visually, your information will get leaked.
Sometimes, these spyware are used by parents to check their children’s internet usage activity. Some companies also install such spyware to make certain that their employees are working honestly and avoiding activities that are not allowed on the company’s system. To avoid getting scammed by such spyware, do not store your passwords on any device. Furthermore, to detect the presence of Keyloggers you can use a malware scanner. Prevention is always better than cure, so make sure to install a trusted antivirus software on your system.
Modem Hackers is a spyware that tempers with your calls. While making a call, it disconnects the line and transfers it to an international call. This lands a person in huge trouble as their bills shoot up sky high due to making international calls. People are then charged enormous amounts of money. One of the victims of this spyware had to pay a huge amount of $1000. Although it’s uncommon in today’s times to use such a spyware, still some hackers are using this one for making money. To prevent falling in hands of Modem Hackers, avoid clicking on unfamiliar pop-ups on the internet.
How does Spyware track your presence?
Nowadays, we can not call all types of data collection methods as spying or stealing your data. You can not label it as a spyware if you’re yourself providing a piece of information to a platform. Today, user’s tracking and data storage is being done purposefully by customer care services to provide a user-friendly experience in the future. So how can you distinguish between a spyware and legitimate data collection? It all comes down to “cookies” offered by a website. They track a user’s behavior and recreate a similar pattern in future to provide a specific type of information based on the user’s past preferences. All websites have different cookies policy and some might take undue advantage of a user’s trust. This thin line between legitimate data collection and online spying is crossed by several websites. You have to make sure about the cookies policy of a website before providing them with your sensitive information.
How to Prevent a Spyware Attack?
- Delete cookies from your browser after every internet usage or at least once a day.
- You can install plugins that protect your system by blocking online trackers.
- VPN (Virtual Private Network) works as an additional layer of protection while using the internet.
- Some browser plug-ins help you know how many companies are tracking you on a daily basis.
- Install anti-spyware software programs to scan your computer for malicious tracking spyware.
- Enhance your browser’s security settings to maximum security level. However, only some browsers provide this option. These browsers act as a firewall against spyware.
- Avoid clicking on any pop-ups that come up on websites. Do not accept cookies just to get rid of an annoying warning.
- Always read terms and conditions of a platform before agreeing to provide them your personal information.
Your safety is in your own hands. Always be well aware of what information you are providing online and to whom. Take appropriate measures as discussed above to prevent your data from being stolen.
Which additional steps do you take to protect your systems from spyware? Let us know by commenting below.