What is Spyware? - Towards Cybersecurity

In this article, I am discussing what is Spyware and its types. So, Let's begin.

Spyware is a type of malware that collects and shares information about a computer, mobile, tablet, or network without the user's permission. So, Spyware is one of the most common threats on the internet. It can easily infect your device and it can be hard to identify and remove from the device.

What is Spyware? - Towards Cybersecurity

Spyware, as its name suggests, is intended to spy on what a user is doing. So, it sounds like a James Bond. Spyware is spying on user activity without their knowledge and permission. These spying capabilities can include activity monitoring, collecting keystrokes, data stealing (account information, login information, credit card or bank account information), and more which is then sent to third parties typically to the cybercriminals. Spyware often has extra capabilities such as modifying security settings of software or browsers to interfering with network connections. Spyware spreads by bundling itself with legitimate software, exploiting software vulnerabilities, or in Trojans.

The most common way for a Spyware to get into the device is through freeware and shareware as a bundled hidden component. One simple click is enough to install Spyware on your device without your knowledge. Once a Spyware gets successfully installed, it hides in the operating system and becomes transparent to you. After that, it starts sending the data from that device in the background to some other place.

For example, someone downloading a toolbar for their web browser may find it comes with Spyware for the purpose of monitoring their internet activity and device use, or malicious advertisements can secretly drop the code onto a device via a drive-by download.

Spyware uses your internet connection to relay personal information such as your name, address, preferences, browsing habits, interests or downloads. Other forms of Spyware hijack your web browser to redirect it to another website, cause your device to place calls or send texts automatically, or server annoying ads even when you are offline.

Spyware collects so much information about you and sends it to another source without your knowledge and permission. Therefore, Spyware is a huge privacy and security threat. In the wrong hands, Spyware can be used to take someone's personal information for the purpose of fraud or identity theft. Information about you collected by Spyware can even be sold by the spyware creator to third parties.

What is Spyware? - Towards Cybersecurity

Signs of a Spyware infection can include the degradation of system performance and unwanted behaviors. It can eat up CPU capacity, network traffic, and disk usage. Stability issues such as failure to boot, application freezing, difficulty connecting to the internet and system crashes are also common.

One of the reasons Spyware can be such a harmful is not only it can give cybercriminals a way into your device and the opportunity to steal data, but it can also significantly slow down a  user's device as it tracks everything you do.

Spyware works like Adware but it usually a separate program that is installed unknowingly when you install a freeware type program or application.

In some cases, Spyware is actively sold as software designed for purposes such as parents monitoring their child's internet use and is designed to explicitly be ignored by antivirus and security software. However, there are also various instances of such tools being used by employers to spy on the activity of employees and people using spyware to spy on another person.

Types Of Spyware:-

Four main types of Spyware are:-

1. Adware

This type of spyware tracks your browser history, web searches, frequently visited websites and downloads, with the intent of predicting what products or services you're interested in. The Adware will display advertisements for the same or related products or services to attract you to click or make a purchase. Adware is used for marketing purposes and can slow down your computer.

Malicious Adware is usually bundled with free software, shareware programs and utilities downloaded from the internet, or unknowingly installed onto a user's device when the user visits an infected website.

If you want to learn more about Adware then Click here.

2. Trojans

Trojans are the type of malware the disguised as legitimate programs (Ex. Trojans may appear to be a Java or Flash Player update upon download) but can fool users into installing it onto their computers and mobile devices. Trojans are controlled by third parties. These Trojans are used to access sensitive data and files and can affect system performance.

If you want to learn more about Trojans then Click here.

3. Cookie Trackers

Third-party cookies trackers monitor a user's internet activities such as web searches, history, downloads, etc for business, marketing or other reasons depending on the motives of the hacker.

4. System Monitors & Keyloggers

This type of spyware can capture just about everything you do on your device. System monitors can record all keystrokes, emails, website visited, and programs run. System monitors are often disguised as freeware.

Keyloggers, also referred to as System monitors, are applications designed to capture device activity, including keystrokes, email discussions, search history, and system credentials. They usually collect screenshots of the current window at scheduled intervals. Keyloggers may also collect functionality, allowing for hidden capture and transmission of images and audio/video from any connected devices. They might even allow hackers to collect documents that are printed on connected printers, which can then be transmitted to a remote server, or stored locally for retrieval.

So, These are four main types of Spyware.

I hope you find useful information in this article. If you have any questions related to Spyware and their types then please mention in the comments section and I will get back to you and stay tuned with my blog to learn interesting things related to cybersecurity and hacking.

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  4. "Spyware" is no longer simply a nuisance to enterprises. It is estimated that 90% of desktop PCs are infected with some form of "Spyware" (Source : US National Cyber Security Alliance). According to Gartner between 20 and 40% of enterprise help desk calls are now related to unwanted "Spyware" programs. The different types of "Spyware" present different risks to enterprises. Cookies raise privacy concerns but are relatively low risk. This article looks at the different types and discusses the measure enterprises can put in place to protect themselves. Hire a Legitimate Hacker in Singapore

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