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As technology advances, people get more paranoid about using their gadgets. Everyone may have had their fair share of wondering whether someone recorded their activities online or watched them through their cameras. Unfortunately, someone could, and you may be correct for putting a tape on your webcam. This is because spyware is a type of malware that can do just that and more.
Keep reading to know more about spyware, its signs of infection, and some helpful prevention tips.
Spyware is malicious software that attacks computers, often behind another program. Similar to a trojan, except spyware remains hidden and won’t show itself when it works. This malware tracks your online activities, reads your messages, and steals your data. Later on, selling it to other hackers at an exorbitant price.
In extreme cases, other spyware can activate cameras and microphones and monitor you without notice, just as everybody fears.
Downloading from unverified sources is the most common way to get spyware. Spyware often disguises itself as legitimate software or programs, so some users mistake downloading them since they appear real.
Some of the common types of spyware include:
This program collects passwords from computers, including credentials from web browsers, system logins, and other critical passwords.
This one scans infected computers to retrieve information like email addresses, usernames, passwords, browser history, etc. An infostealer can also get your credit card information and use it for fraudulent purchases, among other transactions.
A keylogger monitors computer activity, including search history, keystrokes, email discussions, login credentials, and other chatroom dialogues. This type of spyware often captures screenshots of the current window at a scheduled time, and it can capture images, video, and audio without the user’s knowledge.
Signs of Infection
Spyware attacks indeed go unnoticed because they usually work in the background. However, there are still signs on your computer that indicate an infection. These are some of those indicators to watch out for:
- Slow computer response
- Unknown toolbars, search engines, and homepages
- Web searches being redirected to other pages
- Unexpected pop-up ads
- Unidentified icons in the taskbar
- Disrupting antivirus performance
Preventing Spyware Attacks
Unfortunately, this malware is irremovable once your computer gets infected, like any other virus. So it’s best if you do these countermeasures to prevent them from infiltrating your computer:
- Install a more powerful cybersecurity program
- Don’t click any pop-up ads online
- Never download from suspicious emails and websites
- Keep your operating systems updated
These preventive measures are simple, yet they can go a long way in protecting you and all your essential data.
Fiction Turned Reality
Digital spying is no longer a concept today. Because of spyware, many are already living this nightmare, with some people not knowing they’re being monitored. This malware can track your online movements, steal your data, and capture your images.
It’s one of the risks we take for living in such an aggressive digital world. So, it’s best to educate yourself on different cybersecurity threats, the tools that can help defend your devices, and the common practices preventing these attacks.