Nowadays, it's difficult to feel safe doing anything online because you may easily get infected by spyware. Just click one wrong email or website link, and your computer will run slower than usual, you’ll lose important files, or you’ll need to reformat and reinstall your operating system.
What is spyware?
Spyware is a software application that infects your computer and changes your internet browser settings, including your search results and homepage. It doesn’t matter if you revert to your settings; spyware will change them again once you reboot your device.
This malicious application can also install a keylogger on your computer. This software records your keystrokes in order to capture your usernames and passwords for sensitive sites like your email or online banking.
Here’s an example of a major spyware cyberattack.
The WhatsApp incident
WhatsApp is a free multifunction messaging and VoIP program owned by social media giant Facebook. It uses your phone's Wi-Fi or mobile data connection to facilitate voice calling, instant messaging, and file sharing services to anyone with the same app.
In May 2019, a program called Pegasus used an exploit in WhatsApp to let Israeli hackers inject spyware into iOS and Android mobile devices. Pegasus collected location data, sorted through emails and chats, and used the phone's camera and microphone to collect information from voice calls. Then it sent the compromised data to the Israel-based cyber-intelligence firm known as the NSO.
While Facebook claims to have fixed the issue, a WhatsApp representative gave an evasive answer when asked about how many users were affected by the attack. Some of the WhatsApp users who were hit by Pegasus may have been government officials or business owners who deal with classified information.
Tips for keeping your computer spyware-free
Whether you run a small- to medium-sized business or a corporation, it's your responsibility to protect your systems from hackers taking over your network and stealing your data. Here’s how:
Use a firewall
A firewall is software that builds a virtual shield between the world outside and your information. It will stop illegal access to your computer or network and inform you of any intrusion attempts. Make sure your firewall is always updated and active.
Install a powerful antivirus application
The internet may be the “information superhighway,” but it is also where spyware and other malicious programs are let loose. Installing antivirus software will protect your computer and your data.
Antivirus solutions are always updated to account for new strains of computer viruses. So make sure that this program is always active, and schedule regular scans to check if there are threats lurking about.
Set up an anti-spyware solution
Spyware is designed to be difficult to remove or detect, but a specialized anti-spyware package may be included in your antivirus program to deal with this threat exclusively. Anti-spyware kits offer real-time protection by scanning all incoming and outgoing computer activities and blocking any threats it detects.
Keep your operating system, apps, and web browser up to date
Always keep your computer's software updated, because updates include security patches to protect you from the latest malware strains.
As for your favorite internet browser and computer applications, software developers now include powerful privacy and security tools in their products to help fight cyberthreats. Take some time to review these settings and tools so that you can prevent malicious elements from tracking your online activities.
Our professionals at Complete Technology can help address any concerns you have about spyware and other forms of malware. Our company redefines IT services for customers in Kansas City by allowing them to focus on their business and not on IT distractions. Get in touch with us today for your free consultation.