We’ve talked about Malwares before. Let’s talk about one of the most dangerous types of malwares: Spywares.
One of my favorite movie series is James Bond (007, hence the brilliant title). Sometimes, it is a person pretending to be something he is not, performing all kinds of tasks “behind enemy lines”, an actual spy.
So why “Spyware”?
Spywares are softwares that are secretly installed on a user’s device (similar to planting a spy) to gather sensitive data. These are unwanted programs that managed to penetrate your computer, often without you even knowing about it. Their purpose is to track, monitor, and control your personal details.
No matter what operating system you use, it can attack PC, Mac, and Android devices alike. It all depends on the attacker “building” that Spyware.
The whole purpose of the attacker is to build this malware so that it knows how to deal with the device it is inserted into and to do so without any problems at all! And Quietly!
What will an attacker try to achieve with the Spyware?
The attacker will not always try to perform actions using the spyware. Often, the purpose of the malware will be to extract information that could be useful to the attacker, or, to anyone willing to pay for it.
Attackers use Spyware to :
- Get your bank account details in order to directly access your money.
- Intercept personal details such as contacts, passwords, and other network activity.
- Collect enough personal details to steal your identity, may help him impersonate you online and perform actions as if you performed them.
- Record your browsing habits in order to send personalized advertisements. Doesn’t sound so harmful, but it’s still the theft of personal information.
On the other hand, there are also “nice”, legal uses of spywares :
- Monitoring the Users in a corporate network. The main goal here is to prevent a situation where employees leak (whether on purpose or not) sensitive information of the organization. Also, one of the most important things is also to identify the source of attacks, if the attack came from within the organization itself.
- Parental control software that monitors children’s online activity. Yes, the Internet is a scary place, and sometimes we don’t know where our children are surfing and who they are talking to.
- Use of “Cookies” to personalize the browsing experience.
How do we know that our device contains Malicious Spywares?
It is not easy at all to realize that you have been infected with spyware. Such software, well built, will change the security settings to avoid detection. However, there are a few “Red Flags” to look out for :
- Pop-up ads appear suddenly everywhere on the computer.
- The speed and performance of the device is significantly affected.
- The computer starts to “freeze” or crash more frequently than usual.
- A drastic increase in the use of the CPU or an excessive use of the computer’s resources is noticed without any reason.
- The homepage page in your browser changes and takes you to another website (redirect).
- Problems with your antivirus or security software.
- An increase in the amount of automatic site transfers while surfing the web.
Individually, each of these cases does not necessarily indicate a serious problem. However, if you suffer from several symptoms, you may be dealing with a serious problem.
How do I avoid Spywares?
As the nature of malware continues to evolve, there is no surefire tactic to stay protected forever. The best protection against spyware is of course not to download it in the first place. For this you must change many of your personal surfing habits, be much more careful, and pay attention to where you surf.
Always remember to ask yourself the following questions:
Can I really trust this site? Does it use a secure security protocol (HTTPS)? Is the site known? And, is there really a need to download something from it?…
Beware of Spies!
Stay safe, choose Kayran.