What are the Different Types of Spyware?
Spyware is a form of malware (malicious software) whose main characteristic is gathering and collecting data and details of your activity, then transmitting it over the internet. Spyware falls into several categories and while tech-heads may argue about the precise classifications, they’re all bad news for users. If you are wondering about the different types of spyware, then you are in luck as this article will review some of its most common forms.
This form of spyware aims to gather everything you type into your computer. Sometimes that reveals sensitive information from documents but the main goal is to capture when you type in a password or other security information. That’s one of the reasons that some websites, such as online banking, ask you to type specific characters from your password rather than type it in full each time.
This is perhaps the most straightforward category of spyware, but no less dangerous. Simply put, it’s spyware that tries to retrieve data stored on a computer. This can include document files from office software and any sensitive data stored in a browser such as online passwords. It often works by taking advantage of flaws in the way browsers can access a computer, for example, to allow a user to select and upload a file from their hard drive.
This category doesn’t have a universally established name yet but it it’s a recognized problem. It’s where the spyware isn’t simply looking at data on a hard drive but instead monitoring and recording activity on peripherals such as webcams and microphones. It’s a particular problem on mobile devices where spyware may try to access cameras or even GPS and other location details.
This is one of the blurry categories as you can have spyware that isn’t a trojan, or a trojan that isn’t spyware, but often they are found together. Where spyware is categorized by what it does, a trojan is all about how it gets on your computer in the first place. As in the story of the wooden horse in Troy, a trojan is either disguised as a legitimate application or is installed alongside one without your knowledge.
Adware is designed to display unwanted advertisements on a computer. Often the scammers act as intermediaries and make money from advertisers who don’t realize their ads are shown to very unwilling audiences who’ll be annoyed by the distracting pop-ups.
The spyware element comes when adware gathers data about a user’s online activity to show targeted advertising and make it more likely they’ll intentionally click on ads.
Sometimes the ads aren’t visible to the user: this might sound less annoying, but it can mean slowed computer performance, clogged up internet connection and even overheating as the computer makes countless connections in the background.
Spyware poses a double danger to businesses: it can compromise their security and it can compromise the performance of their computers and networks. If you’d like to know more about ways your business can combat the risk of spyware, contact us today.