Spyware is a computer program which has a different working principle than a virus. The infections are different. A virus might corrupt the files in your system or ask for a ransom.
A spyware generally acts in the background with an intent to steal your personal data or computer usage. It’s estimated that about 80% of personal computers are infected with some kind of spyware.
The working of spyware is different depending on its type. Cookie tracker is a non-harmful spyware which gathers information about a person’s internet activities. Such a tracking allows the information to be used in other ways to monetize it.
For instance, adware is another type of spyware which displays interruptive ad to the person either on the browser or even on the system itself. The ad is tailor made for the user by using the data stolen using a cookie tracker.
Some spywares are like system monitors which record the device activities. The program might store your keyboard type history. Suppose you entered your credit card detail on an online form. Such system monitors use the keyboard input and might steal your pin, password and your login credential.
Read about the Interesting Grinch Bot.
Your account might then get hacked and your bank balance might get transferred to the hackers account. Such spywares might enter into your system with help of trojan spywares. They are programs which act like a normal program but have some modifications to allow the hacker to download additional software and infect the computer without your consent.
Some common types of Spywares:
- Keyloggers – records computer activities including keystrokes, history, chats etc
- Password stealers – steal mainly login info
- Infostealers – steal anything important
- Banking trojans – target bank computers
Since most computers are connected online, it is now easier for the hackers to infect them by using internet as a medium. While downloading a pirated copy of a software, spywares might get sideloaded into the system.
Spam mails are also used. When opening a link provided in the mail, it usually gets redirected to sites which might infect the system. Safe practices such as using an antivirus software, keeping the system updated is a preventive measure.
But, the users themselves should be more skeptical when visiting unsecured sites, while opening spam emails or downloading pirated software. Following it most certainly keep them away.
There are plenty of antispyware software on the internet. We use Malwarebytes. It is pretty simple to find one that suits you. It will be required once in a while.