Spyware is a type of program that is installed to collect information about users or organizations. It is typically installed on a computer or device without the user’s awareness and operates in the background, collecting sensitive data and transmitting it to a remote attacker or organization.
Spyware can monitor user activities, track internet browsing habits, capture keystrokes, record passwords, and even take screenshots, posing a significant threat to privacy and security.
It also can download and install other malicious programs from the internet. Spyware works like adware but is usually a separate program that is installed unknowingly when you install another freeware application.
Here are some key characteristics of spyware:
Stealthy Installation: Spyware often enters a system through deceptive means, such as bundled with legitimate software downloads, embedded in malicious email attachments or links, or exploiting vulnerabilities in software or operating systems. It is designed to avoid detection during installation and may employ techniques to hide its presence and evade security measures.
Information Gathering: Spyware’s primary objective is to collect sensitive information about users, their activities, and their digital behavior. This can include browsing history, login credentials, personal and financial data, email content, chat conversations, and more. The captured information is typically transmitted to the attacker’s server for exploitation or further unauthorized use.
Intrusive Monitoring: Spyware can monitor and record various aspects of a user’s activities, such as keystrokes, mouse movements, and application usage. This allows the attacker to track online behavior, capture login credentials, and gather sensitive data. Some advanced spyware can also activate the device’s camera and microphone, invading the user’s privacy.
Unauthorized Access and Control: In some cases, spyware can provide remote access and control of the infected device, enabling the attacker to execute commands, install additional malware, or manipulate the system settings without the user’s knowledge.
Adverse Impact on System Performance: Spyware can significantly impact system performance by consuming resources, slowing down processes, causing crashes, or interfering with the proper functioning of applications and the operating system.