A Brief Introduction to Spyware and How You Might Already Be A Victim Of It

July 18, 2013

Tech Info

With technology always changing and advancing, forgetting to be cautious is easy. With new computers, smartphones and tablets, it’s far too easy to get caught up in new apps, entertainment, and communication. However, failing to be vigilant could mean that you end up as a spyware victim – or perhaps you already are, but simply don’t know. Below is more information on spyware, some information on how you could become a victim, and tips on protecting your personal information.

What Is Spyware?

Spyware is a complex kind of software that is designed specifically to gather information about a person or a business. The problem is that the victim is unaware that spyware is collecting this information; it is done without the individual’s awareness or consent.

There are four common types of spyware, including Trojans, tracking cookies, system monitors, and adware. Lots of spyware is used to track an individual’s movement on the Internet, which might be used by advertisers and which could affect what kind of popup ads you receive. However, spyware can also be incredibly malicious, collecting private information like your banking information or credit card number. Obviously, this is incredibly unsafe and jeopardizes the security of your bank account.

Could You Be a Victim?

You could be a victim of spyware without even knowing it. Importantly, you need to be aware that it isn’t just computers that are at risk; your smartphone and tablet could also be targeted. For example, some Android apps are Trojanized, which means that they contain code that gathers your data without your knowledge. Always be wary of the kind of apps you put on your phone, and be cautious about the kind of information you give the provider.

Additionally, be aware that jailbreaking your phone – removing the limitations put on your phone by the original carrier – can also increase your risk. Jailbreaking switches your secure, closed operating system to an open one. Having an open operating system makes your device more accessible to hackers and malicious spyware.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

Spyware can be devastating, but luckily there is a variety of ways to protect yourself and minimize the risks. For starters, make sure that you have a PIN or key lock on your smartphone, or a password on your computer. By requiring a password, you are restricting access to your device, which already makes it more difficult to access your private information. Additionally, make sure you upload security software. If you buy spyware software, you are increasing your device’s security. Finally, be cautious of what you are doing on wireless networks. For example, save your banking for a secure network.

Spyware can be devastating, as it can jeopardize your financial security and it can destroy a business’ reputation. In order to avoid these problems, do everything in your power to make it more difficult for hackers to use spyware on your device. Create passwords, use your device with caution when you’re not on a protected Internet line, and download anti spyware software.

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