What Is Spyware & Examples to Watch Out For
Date: 23 February 2022
Spyware is a scary, unknown, mysterious part of the internet. Spyware is a heavily used malicious tactic that puts your privacy and data safety at risk.
However, like all things in the cyber world, educating yourself about spyware can help protect your personal data and your sensitive business information online.
The key thought to keep in mind is to avoid fearing spyware and to acknowledge that everyone and anyone is susceptible to hackers and cyber security threats such as spyware attacks. All you can do is empower yourself with the right information and stay alert.
What is Spyware?
Spyware is basically malicious software that hackers utilize to steal information and access the victim’s device. This malicious software essentially infects your device and its regular functioning. Spyware is tricky to identify in most instances unless the effects are severe: this can include extreme lag, inability to log into social media accounts, and random charges on your credit card.
Spyware is, obviously, installed without the permission of the victim. It can be disguised as another app, or not visible to the eye because it’s encrypted within the software.
Spyware Examples to Watch Out For
Just as the name implies, Infostealers is a spyware used to gather personal information. This means if it is installed on any of your electronic devices, passwords, data, documents, and other information will be revealed to the hacker. Those who use Infostealer will either sell your personal information to others or use it for their own benefit.
Infostealer usually infects your device through contact during the use of web browsers. They will add extra forums to websites, leading you to add information that is then submitted to the hacker. Before you click on forums, surveys, and polls, think twice about giving out any information online.
Used on phones, PhoneSpy is a spyware software that camouflages itself as another application. It can present itself as a social media site, mobile game, web browser, or any other app installed on your phone. This spyware tactic is hard to catch early on which makes it very dangerous.
This spyware is an example of how hackers can use phishing to trick users online. PhoneSpy can basically gather all types of information on your phone. From logins, screen recording capability, GPS tracking and more, PhoneSpy has the potential to be a huge threat. To prevent PhoneSpy from being installed onto your device, attempt to avoid installing unofficial apps (those unavailable from your phone's app store) and analyze the details of the apps you do have.
Modem Hackers is a spyware that disconnects your phone line and transfers it to an international one. This issue is serious because now that your phone plan has been switched to international coverage, you’ll be charged excessive amounts of money. Victims of this spyware have received phone bills of around $1000.
If this happens to you, it will be easy to tell that spyware has infected one or more of your devices. Modem Hackers isn’t as common, but hackers use it and are still taking advantage of individuals each year by employing this malicious software. In order to steer clear of this spyware, avoid clicking on random popups that appear on your screen.
Although the name is funny, the impact of this spyware isn’t something to laugh about. It was used recently to attack those using NoxPlayer. This application is a free game on Android devices meant for PC and Mac computers. Luckily, if you are able to tell if an application is suspicious before installing it, you can avoid dealing with Ghost Rat. It can’t hurt your device unless it’s been installed; this is what’s known as a trojan horse spyware example.
Also called “system monitors”, Keyloggers is a spyware that tracks your keyboard usage. This can provide hackers with your passwords and other personal information. More advanced keylogger software can also record your online activity on a visual scale periodically while you are using a computer. Unless the passwords are blocked on screen, your information will easily be accessed through this malware.
Businesses and parents also use keyloggers to track internet usage. In the case of businesses, employers want to make sure their employees are staying on task and aren’t accessing illegal content while at work. Parents use it to ensure their children are using the internet safely. In order to protect yourself from keyloggers, never save your passwords on your device.
If you believe your electronics have been infected by spyware programming, use a trusted malware scanner. You may have to contact a tech company if the damages are severe enough. To prevent spyware infection, you should also invest in good antivirus software. There are plenty of modern antivirus and VPN programs that will help you remain safe online.
Writer and business analyst Jenny Williams works at Assignment writer service.