Can a software download/install itself without the user’s consent? Spyware can, and it can be very harmful to Y.O.U.

We all fear being persecuted by the unknown. This type of privacy violation is disturbing and illegal… But lurking hackers still try to abuse its power. 

Spyware affects PC’s, Macs, iOS, and Android devices (Windows being more susceptible to spyware). They are intended to be sneaky, and they achieve it without much problem.

You could have been infected by opening a pop-up you shouldn’t have to, by downloading an infected software online, or by following the path phishing emails send you. 

To prevent it, you just don’t download/click/open content from untrustworthy sources.

But… Are there different versions to run away from?

Types of Spyware

Four main types of spyware exist (each uses unique methods to track users).

1. Adware. It’s capable of predicting those products or services you’re interested in… This is because Adware tracks your downloads and even your browser history.

Custom advertisements will display throughout scam sites, showing items you might be interested in.  

Adware is often harmless. Its purpose is related to marketing but still slows down your devices. Tracking cookies are also created for marketing purposes.


2. Trojan. Malicious software that looks like a legit one, is dangerous enough. if you accept this offering, it increases the chances that sensitive information (credit card data, Social Security numbers) will be stolen.

3. System monitors. It captures everything you do on your devices (keystrokes, programs run, websites visited, emails) and is often camouflaged as freeware.

This is an evil presence with more than 1 face. What are the possible risks of Spyware harming Y.O.U.?

Yell, but Don’t Panic.

It gets annoying from the starting point, however, it won’t be truly harmful.

Here’s where Adware sits, frequently throwing pop-ups ads at your face… In many cases, malware will infect you if you clicked over one Ad at any given point.

Things get very tricky when a powerful program redirects you to websites or URLs they want it to. Money is made out of it by manipulating traffic, leading to chosen business sites.  

And the impact of low-level Spyware starts to feel when you discover how slow your device is.

Even, it can take the next step and completely shut down your devices and damage/erase wanted files. Imagine financial records being destroyed by something that seemed innocent. 

Observing your Steps

We used to think that law enforcers spying on us was just a viable idea for a dystopian future… But monitoring systems do exists, and we must be aware of that.

They track your habits, usage, camera, audio, video, and GPS location data from your devices.

There was a huge case of an advanced monitoring tool capable of taking entire conversations out of Whatsapp and similar end-to-end encrypted messaging apps. 

NSO Group’s Pegasus is just one, to mention.   

Ultimate Risk

Permanent surveillance fits into our biggest fears, but not everybody has access to it… Most times, State Nations are part of the group of few.

But a malicious software that hides silently in your devices, waiting to breach and steal your login credentials is worst than that. And also, are abundant.

Cyber thieves know how to get financial information (as credit card numbers) out of you. 

These information stealers can go all-in against accounts, documents, and all kinds of media files. Hardcore versions of Spyware trojans are well-known in the banking business. 

Citrix, Malwarebytes, Bitdefender, and others should detect and immediately remove known spyware. But be aware… Most advanced spyware out there is absolutely invisible to cybersecurity tools (especially outdated ones). 

Not to mention spyware incrusted on mobile devices. It can get way harder to take off if it’s deeply embedded into its Operative System. The only option left is a factory reset.

Summary

Spyware is a real dangerous threat to our privacy and security. 

It’s far from ethical, and in the wrong hands, it is just a matter of time for new identity theft or fraud waves start to appear. 

Reality is, you don’t have much control once it happens… Becoming unaware of where all your vital information goes. 

Protecting your tech devices from spyware is now a priority? 

Let’s be proactive and save your assets before it’s too late.