How To Protect Against Spyware & Similar Threats

Spyware with first recorded history in 1995 at Microsoft’s business model. Before that, spyware generally constituted small cameras, mics, or recording devices, all small hardware devices; however, after 1995, a new possibility of spying was open to the world that would alter history. Now anyone in the world can be spied upon from anywhere in the world without being bothered with the risk of installing a device anywhere. 

Spyware has been disguised as normal software and sends information to its creator. That information may include surfing habits and history, system details or, worst of all, passwords and login information for critical applications such as online banking. 

They often come bundled with some free software that you download from the shady sites; once you download it, it runs exactly the way it has been designed. They are being made in such a way that its mostly under the radar and consumes negligible resources for you to even detect the problem until its too late.

It may be surprising to you that most of these software’s clearly describe all the information in the End-user License Agreement before installation. This protects them from any legal action if they are based in the US. These agreements have been intentionally meant to be lengthy and legally complex to avoid users from actually reading them; however, some software’s read them for you and alert you if they find any objectionable spy-related issues.

Types of spyware

spyware

Malware: Short form of malicious software, malware is any program that runs on a computer without the user’s knowledge and performs predetermined functions that cause harm to privacy or functionality of the system.

Adware: this software are very similar to spyware and malware. Adware refers explicitly to programs that display pop-up advertisements. The ads is often based on surfing habits but may also be tied to a specific advertiser. They work on storing your surfing habits and then showing specific ads related to your search. For example, suppose you search for some shoes, Now on all the websites you visit, you will see ads for the shoes. This is called google display ads; these aren’t dangerous as google doesn’t share your information with anyone; however, the same cant be said about the software that causes annoying pop-ups again and again.

Virus: As the name implies, a virus is a program designed to spread among files on a single computer or computers on a network. These viruses are designed for some specific purpose, like multiply. They create multiple copies of themselves to fill out your disk space or Viruses that keep running in the background, making your computer slower. Crackers (hackers with malicious intent) often create these programs to see how far they will spread. Unfortunately, even a supposedly harmless virus can have a severe effect on processing and network operations.

Worm: worm spreads itself around a network, Just like a virus. Worms, however, do so by making copies of themselves as they spread until they fill up your disk space. They also may be capable of changing their profile or filename to avoid detection.

Trojan: the computer software takes on the appearance of something benign, such as an update or add-on to an actual program. Once on your computer, it may perform harmful functions such as erasing your hard disk, deleting all your image files, or corrupting the OS itself if not kept unto date. Like spyware, a Trojan may also gather information and send it to the hacker.

Ransomware: These files are the most notorious for actually extracting money from high net worth individuals, companies and institutions. These are frequently used by terrorist organizations, hackers, and ill-intended individuals to Extort money through cryptocurrency. These files encrypt your files and data, which stays in your computer only; however, it requires a password for description. Nevertheless, these are the safest option for hackers because they can’t be traced to any specific creator as it never sends data to any server tracking which a hacker can be caught. Moreover, it requires to pay in cryptocurrency, which cant be traced either. The only way to be safe from them is to have multiple backups of the information and insurance if you are at the company level.

How to be safe from Spyware

  • Two-factor authentication:

    Use two-factor authentication or two-step verification everywhere that you can. For example, your banking systems, Twitter, Facebook all support you to enable an additional security feature that you may not know. You can use google authenticator for this as this refreshes a new OTP every minute, providing you with the highest degree of safety.

  • Make sure that you stay up to date:

    Those security patches. So a new update in your windows is usually to fix a known attack that hackers have figured out to get access to your computer. So keep up to date even in a Mac; they aren’t impervious to attack as it just has the benefit of being the second to windows 93% market share. That’s the most important thing, always keep up to date with what you’re having out there. Same thing for third-party applications. If you’re using Java, Adobe, PDFs, Office documents, those are all things that you want to keep up to date, and that makes it much harder for us as hackers to break into your system.

  • Use TOR or VPN:

    An investment into a VPN may probably save you a lot, especially if you are into IT, Journalism or wants to avoid radar. A VPN can save you a lot. A good alternate to VPN can be TOR, and It is also a great complimentary to VPN. TOR(The Onion Router) Masks your identity by bouncing your request to multiple servers around the globe. Also, it encrypts any query in the layer of encryption hence the name Onion. This will keep you safe from all the Adware as these cant locate you from the rest.

  • Update Your Antivirus or antimalware as soon as they arrive:

    Let’s first understands how antivirus works. It is nothing but a directory of the virus throughout the globe. Suppose a new virus has been detected in someone’s computer, they identify it and enlist into their update, Now if the same virus is in your system, they will be able to detect it after you update it. Of course, there are still some risks as any hacker can encrypt the virus and make it undetectable to antivirus; however, companies are now adopting AI, which will be able to detect any such encryption.

  • When you do download software, read the end-user license agreement before installation. If you are not sure, do not install the software.
  • Set your browser and OS security level to the highest for best results. You may see a more warning messages, but it’s a small price to pay for security.

Spyware Removal

If, despite all your efforts, you find your computer has spyware on it, stop working immediately and quickly switch to airplane mode to avoid passing any information to the bad guys. Run a comprehensive scan using your antivirus software. If you still suspect that your device still has it, then run to your nearest iFixScreens for detection and elimination of all spyware. Plus, our technicians will make sure to ramp up your security and cut all the backdoors to prevent any breach.

 

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