What is Spyware and How to Remove it?
Most businesses use automated systems and methods to collect information about their customers. They use this data to create effective and targeted marketing strategies. But some of them might end up becoming malicious. One such development is Spyware, which started as a method to track the users’ online activity by companies and website owners. It began as a marketing strategy and later on modified and advanced as malicious threats. In this article, our cybersecurity expert from Perth tells you what Spyware is and how to remove it.
What are the different types of Spyware?
Spyware is a spying software, and as the name indicates, it intrudes into a system and collects information in that system for its host. The spyware developers can collect personal information in the system like bank details, credit card details and observe the person’s online activities.
Spyware can enter your computers without your knowledge by clicking on an unknown link or download from an unauthorised or malicious site. Modern-day Spyware is very sophisticated that varies from harmful trojans to mobile Spyware. Following are the most common classifications of Spyware.
Tracking Cookies:– Cookies are small files that contain your user interface data. When you visit a website, it downloads and stores a text file on your browser that contains your activities on their site, passwords etc. The next time you visit this site, the browser brings back this cookie, and the website can identify it is you. But tracking cookies are slightly different because it moves on from one site to another, observing all your browsing paths. These are mainly used for marketing.
Adware:- Adware or advertisement support software is a kind of Spyware that shows advertisements on your computer based on your searches over the browser. These are tracking Spyware that tracks your browsing history to know your interests and likes and shows related ads. But these can be dangerous because they observe all your browsing.
Keyloggers:- Keyloggers or keyboard loggers are a type of system monitors that infiltrates a system and monitors everything a system does. These are the most harmful types of Spyware because they track even what you type on the keyboard, like a card pin or passwords. They can be used for legitimate purposes like parental supervision of child internet usage, employer supervision of employees etc. But these can cause serious threats to you if the information ends up in the wrong hands.
Trojan:- Trojan or Trojan horse is malicious software that opens backdoors for hackers and criminals to your system. Trojans are presented as legitimate software or links, and their download will result in a severe security flaw. Trojans give access to your system and can steal, modify, encrypt and delete data.
How to identify spyware infection?
They can be tough to detect. However, some signs should immediately alert you to the possibility of a spyware infection –
- The most common sign is a slow device or network connection speeds.
- Unexpected high data usage.
- Unexpected and frequent crashes.
- Running out of space on hard drives.
- Reduced battery life for mobiles.
- Pop-up ads appear even when the user is offline
How to remove Spyware from your system?
The first step on identification of Spyware is to remove the internet access from your system until the problem is fixed.
Next step to remove Spyware from your system –
Try to delete the spyware folder on the hard drive manually.
- Go to the Programs of your device and check for suspicious programs. Ensure that it is Spyware before uninstalling.
- Go to Startup and disable the program from running.
- Go to Task Manager, click on the program and then on End Process.
- Go to device Programs, right-click on the spyware program and select uninstall.
If deleting manually doesn’t work, you may need antivirus software or a spyware removal tool to scan, quarantine or delete the Spyware.
If none of the above work, access the hard drive in Safe Mode. You will need a tool to remove the Spyware.
Pop-up ads – A form of online advertising where a small window suddenly appears or pops up.
Safe mode – It is a diagnostic mode that starts Windows in a basic state, usually used to fix critical problems and remove malicious software.