What is Spyware?

Posted on Dec 1, 2018 by Summer Hirst

Spyware or spying software is something that keeps a track of your activities and informs someone about what you’ve been doing.

While it may sound very James Bond like, it’s not all that glamorous. This spyware can be used to steal your bank or credit card information. And if you have a disgruntled ex, it might be used to know what you’ve been doing and whom you’ve been going out with.

And then there are some spyware that can install other malware on your system and change the settings to make things easier for them.

How do people get spyware?

Here are the main ways most people get affected by spyware.

  • Downloading software tool or apps from unreliable sources
  • Clicking on suspicious links
  • Downloading attachments in emails without verifying the sender


Do you have spyware right now?

Since spyware is sneaky by nature, it’s not easy to discover. However, there are some symptoms that you might experience if you’re infected by it. Some of them are:

  • You get regular popups – online and offline
  • Your device has become sluggish
  • Your computer crashes very often
  • You’re running out of hard disk space although you don’t store a lot of files

While the other symptoms are vague, the popup one is a definite sign of something going wrong somewhere.

How to prevent spyware

Use anti-spyware: You’ll find several anti-spyware tools in the market that will scan your device to find out if something is tracking your activities. Also, these tools will keep an eye on the future programs that are installed on your device to ensure that none of them contains spyware.

Be careful when you go online: Spyware is installed from malicious websites. As a rule of thumb, you can restrict your usage to only HTTPS websites. There are some browser plugins that will stop you from opening unsecured websites. Also, don’t open emails attachments if you don’t know the sender.

Stay updated:

Keep your device software updated. With new updates, old bugs are fixed and security patches are applied, so any old spyware that worked earlier would be rendered useless with the new updates.

Install a firewall:

A firewall will block all unwanted traffic coming your way. It can block spyware and other malware from entering your system.

Be wary of popups:

A malicious website can throw a popup your way that will prompt you to download spyware on your system. The general tendency of most people is just to click on I Agree to close the popup. Don’t fall into the trap. Don’t agree to anything if you don’t know about the software it’s going to install on your device.

With just a little care and a few precautions, you can avoid most online threats.