Cybercriminals have a variety of methods that they use to introduce threats to their victim’s devices. When it comes to observing civilians on their personal computers, phones, and tablets, one of the main tools they utilize is called “spyware.” This invasive attack method gives these hackers a way to peer into the lives of others directly through their Internet-ready devices. The best way to keep yourself safe against this intrusion is to stay informed. Take a look at our article to learn 3 tips to protect yourself from spyware on all of your devices.
What is Spyware?
Spyware is a form of malware that gathers data and information from an infected device and sends it to third parties without a user’s permission. Similar to other types of malware, spyware typically finds its way onto these devices without the user knowing. It can often be transmitted through unsafe downloads, malicious links, unverified software, or a third-party installation.
Similar to many different types of malware, spyware can be used for different reasons, depending on the intention of the attacker. Some popular reasons may include:
- Data-gathering for marketing purposes
- Government or law enforcement spying
- Hacking/spamming to obtain information
- Corporate tracking or parental controls
In certain situations, spyware is utilized to steal identifying information, track a user’s activity, or spy on someone else’s actions. If this sounds concerning to you, then you’re in luck. We’ve come up with 3 tips to protect yourself from spyware on your personal device.
3 Tips to Protect Yourself from Spyware
Keeping your personal information secure against cybercriminals can be difficult, especially as hackers develop new technologies and methods to get the information they’re looking for. With that in mind, take a look at the following tips for protecting your personal information from spyware.
- Avoid clicking mysterious or suspicious links. Through social engineering attacks, cybercriminals can distribute malicious software by sending out links via email, social media DMs, and other methods of communication.
- Keep your system’s security software up-to-date. Your computer, phone, or tablet is likely equipped to protect you against dangerous software. Ensuring that your device’s built-in software is updated to the most recent version can help you avoid spyware threats.
- Use a VPN that alerts you to potential threats. Using a reliable VPN can keep your data secure against a variety of threats and online risks. However, a VPN that also has threat detection capabilities can give you an extra layer of safety and protection against cybercriminals and their attack methods.
Spyware can appear in many forms, based on the intention of the person or team that distributed the malware. Another step in securing your personal data is to know the different types of spyware that exist so you can keep an eye out for them.
What are the Different Forms of Spyware?
If you notice that your device is running slowly, or if you are receiving an influx of pop-up messages, that can be a good indication that your system is infected with spyware or another type of potentially dangerous malware. When you begin to identify signs of the different forms of spyware, it’s a good idea to begin changing your passwords and updating your device. Let’s take a look at the different types of spyware to watch out for.
- Stalkerware: a form of malware that is often distributed by abusive romantic partners to spy on the actions of their ex.
- Trojan Horses: any malware that infects a device by pretending to be something else, usually a reputable program.
- Adware: an infection that collects your personal data and online habits and sends it to the highest bidding advertiser.
- Keylogging Software: similar to stalkerware, this malware tracks the keystrokes on your keyboard and records the data, which is then sent to a third party.
- Device Monitoring: often used by corporations to track employee activity or by parents who want to know what their children are doing on their phones or computers.
Now that you know how to identify spyware on your device, you can give yourself the ongoing protection that you deserve. Remember to keep your computer, tablet, and phone updated to the latest version to prevent intrusive malware downloads, and use a reliable VPN to keep your personal data from being compromised.
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