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Types Of Spyware And How To Detect Them

By December 4, 2022December 6th, 2022No Comments

What exactly is spyware?

Spyware is malicious software that constantly monitors your computer’s activity and internet usage. Its purpose is to collect data, commonly referred to as “traffic data,” which can include keystrokes, screenshots, visited websites, and various types of personal or sensitive information. The data can be used in a variety of ways, including selling it to interested parties and, in some cases, for identity theft. It is essential to be aware of these common types of spyware and how to detect them.

Similar to other forms of malware, including Trojans, viruses, and worms, spyware can infect a computer system. They can exploit various security flaws, such as when a user clicks on an unfamiliar link in an email, or they can simply visit a malicious website. Users will download them willingly if they are marketed as a variety of useful tools.

Why is spyware important?

With phishing attempts becoming more sophisticated by the day, it is crucial to educate your employees on how to prevent and identify phishing attacks. Companies with threat protection in place have been fooled by phishing attempts that are increasingly difficult to identify. Many are posing as people you know and regularly correspond with. Recently, a company’s CEO fell victim to a phishing attempt and was forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to recover their data. Humans are the first and last line of defense; therefore, it is essential to educate employees on how to prevent this from occurring.

How to Determine If Your Computer Has Spyware

Installing up-to-date firewall, anti-malware, or antivirus software on your device is the most effective way to detect this type of software. These will notify you if any suspicious activity or other security threats are detected on your computer.

Nonetheless, other indicators may suggest that one or more spyware programs have infiltrated your system. These rarely operate alone on your computer, which means that your device is infected with multiple types of malware. In this scenario, users will occasionally observe a degradation in system performance, such as a high CPU load, high disk utilization, or unexplained network traffic.

Various programs and applications may experience frequent crashes or freezing, an inability to launch, or internet connection issues. Some types of spyware can disable your firewall, antivirus software, and other browser security settings, thereby increasing the likelihood of future infection. If you encounter any of these issues, your computer is likely infected with spyware or other forms of malware.

What are the most prevalent forms of spyware?

Typically, the functionality of spyware depends on the creator’s objectives. Here are four examples of the most prevalent spyware programs.

Keyloggers

Also known as system monitors, are designed to record your computer’s activity, such as keystrokes, search history, email activity, chat room communications, websites visited, system credentials, and so on. Additionally, more complex examples can collect documents passing through printers.

Password Stealers

As their name would suggest, these types of spyware will collect any passwords inserted into an infected device. These may include system login credentials and other passwords of similar importance.

Infostealers

When a PC or other device is infected with this type of spyware, it can provide sensitive information, such as passwords, usernames, email addresses, log files, browser history, system information, spreadsheets, documents, media files, etc. to unauthorized parties. Information thieves typically exploit browser security flaws to steal personal data and other sensitive information.

Banking Trojans

Similar to information thieves, banking Trojans exploit browser security flaws to obtain credentials from financial institutions, modify transaction content or web pages, and insert additional transactions, among other activities. These banking Trojans can infect banks, online financial portals, brokerages, digital wallets, and a variety of other financial institutions.

Conclusion

The digital environment is fraught with inherent dangers, such as spyware and other forms of malware. Fortunately, a variety of people and tools are available to assist you, and your business is protected from these online threats.

With PCtronics, you can rest assured knowing that all of your data will be secure with the highest caliber of online protection with quick and effective responses to preventative maintenance. Your data and information will be backed up frequently to ensure that NONE of your digital property is ever at risk of being tampered with by any outside force.

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