What Is Spyware? And How Does It Steal Information

Shivendra Nath


A spyware is nothing but a malicious software program. It gets installed on the user’s computer system without informing the user. Furthermore, it is not limited to installing itself on computing device but also performs various illegal tasks.

Those tasks can be monitoring internet usage data of the computer, stealing sensitive information of user. Sensitive information can be website login credentials, bank website login credentials, credit card numbers and so on.

After collecting this sensitive information, spyware programs sends the information illegally to advertisers, data aggregator and other external parties.

Not only this the spyware can get access to the person’s location, such a program is called Stalkerware. This program can be installed by any person on the victim’s phone. This can send location information of the victim, eavesdrop on the victim’s phone call, can intercept the messages etc.

Detection of spyware is usually a difficult task, but certain indications might help to identify spyware infection on the device. Some indications like reduction in processing power of the computer, dropping of network connection speeds, etc.

In case of a smartphone, it can be unusual higher data usage and faster battery drain if infected with such malicious programs.

How Does it work?

Spyware usually gets installed by app package, malicious website, or email attachments. Depending upon the malicious code there are two possible situations for the damage i.e., least, and maximum damage. When talking about the least damage it can bootup with the system, using the RAM and the internet network. It can throw several ads on your screen.

Not only this it can reset your web browser homepage and can redirect you to another malicious website or to a home page of low-quality websites.

When talking about maximum damage, it can track your browsing history, steal credit cards, or debit cards information, banking information and so on. It can do so with the help of keyloggers and screen captures.

Moreover, spyware can change the computer’s dynamic Link libraries that enables users to connect with the internet. And such type of problem is hard to diagnose.

It can also reconfigure device firewall setting to allow even more malware to the computer system. And some spywares are like when the process of removing it initiates in a computer system. Then such spywares can also stop the process.

How Does Spyware infections occur?

Spyware infections can occur on any personal computer, Mac ,iOS and android phones. The most common ways by which spyware infections occur in a computer device are:

  • Downloading pirated games, movies, and songs from the websites.
  • Accepting popup advertisements.
  • Downloading materials from unknown online sources.
  • And opening email attachments from unknown senders.

So now let’s see about the types of spywares.

Types of Spyware:

Spyware is not just one software, but it is having several forms like adware, Keyboard Loggers, Trojan etc. So, let’s see them one by one.

  • Adware: Adware is that kind of malicious program that displays annoying and intrusive ads to the users. These programs usually come bundled with the software programs and installs itself silently. Also, many users were first introduced by the spyware in 1999, when popular freeware game named as Elf Bowling came with the tracking software.

  • Keyboard Loggers: keyboard loggers or keyloggers in short are mainly used by cybercriminals to steal personal information, and other sensitive information by keeping track of keystrokes. Whatever you type onto your keyboard is recorded and sent to the malicious author of keylogger. This type of program can be installed secretly into the victim’s computer by any employee. Or by parents into their child computer to keep track of online activities.  

  • Trojan: Mainly the Trojan appears to be a legitimate application but in the reality it’s not. Victim runs the programs or files unknowingly and this can give Trojan full access of the computer which is dangerous. Adding to this, Trojan can access to the important files on computer system and can also encrypt the documents. And at last, but not the least comes the mobile spyware. So, let’s talk about that.

  • Mobile Spyware: This kind of spyware is dangerous as it can be spread through SMS or Multimedia Messages. It does not require any action on user’s end to run the scripts. Mobile or Tablet gets infected with spyware usually when sideloading of apps is done. Moreover, mobile spyware can get access to camera and microphone and can track each and every activity of the victim.

How do you prevent the Spyware?

In order to prevent spyware from getting on your device(s) best cybersecurity practices is needed to be followed. Some of those practices are:

  • Always download programs from trusted websites.
  • Using a good anti-virus program along with a spyware detection and removal tool is a must.
  • Enable 2 Factor Authentication is also best whenever it is possible.

Final Words:

Due to growing number of internet users security issues have also increased no matter whether you use a computer or smartphone or any computing devices. And, as I have mentioned above the threats can be reduced to a greater extent by following best practices. And also, by having a good security software in your system. I hope this article has given you the information about the spywares. So, thanks for reading this article and don’t forget to share this with your friends and family as well. And I will see you on the next post till then stay safe and stay happy.


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