24
Jan

What is Spyware?


Ben Lutkevich: A lot of bad things go by the title spyware. Spyware software installed on an computing device without the end users knowledge or authorization. It has a potential to violate user privacy and abuse user accounts and devices. Spyware can be difficult to detect on a computer device. Often the first indication of a spyware infection is a noticeable performance reduction, whether that be with the processor, network or battery life. Spyware describes an entire category of malicious software, including adware, which is often bundled in with free software and utilities downloaded from the internet, or installed when the user visited infected website; keyboard loggers, which are often used by cyber criminals to track keystrokes and steal personal information logging credentials and sensitive enterprise data; Trojans, which are disguised as legitimate emails and downloads that can delete data, encrypt files for ransom, or allow others to take over and infected device; and mobile spyware, which can use the phone’s camera and microphone to spy on nearby activity, record phone calls and track location. Anti-spyware tools can provide real time protection by scanning and blocking malicious items in the network, or can retro actively remove spyware already on the device. But as always, careful computing is the best defense against spyware. Best practices include only downloading software from trusted and verified sources, carefully reading all disclosures when installing software, avoid clicking pop up ads, and stay up to date with software.

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