What is spyware?

Spyware is a type of malware that steals data from your device. It can log what you type, take screen­shots, and even use your device camera. Read below to learn more about what spyware is and how to protect yourself.

What does spyware do?

Spyware infects your device and spies on what you do. It then passes the information to its masters. While many programs collect information about you, spyware does so without your consent and knowledge. And typically for malicious reasons. Some of the most common types of the data spyware steals are:

  • Credit card information
  • Passwords and usernames
  • Banking credentials
  • Information on what you do online

Criminals can use this information for account take­over and identity theft. Additionally, governments, advertisers and criminals can use spyware for surveillance. It can also be used to identify potential targets for further attacks.

Spying on you is not all spyware does

On the first half of 2020, 18 out of the 20 most common malware detected by F‑Secure were able to steal data. And many of them did more than that. Spyware often slows down your system and connection. It can also alter your device security settings and down­load more malware. You might see more ads and pop-ups on your device and browser.

How does your device get infected?

The most common way to get infected with malware is email attachments and links. Quite often spy­ware is a Trojan and gets on your device when you install another program. Spyware can also utilize software vulnerabilities especially in browsers to get in. If you have spyware on your device, it’s likely there’s other malware too.

5 antispyware tips

Like any other malware, you don’t want spyware on your device. Below are 5 spyware protection tips that help you stay safe.

Use antivirus software

Antivirus is also antispyware software. It’s your first and foremost spyware protection. Anti­virus blocks malware from infecting your device and carries out automatic spyware removal. Keep also your fire­walls on.

Avoid opening links and attachments

The most common distribution methods for malware are attachments and links sent in emails and SMS messages. Only down­load and open files and links you trust.

Don’t download shady apps and programs

Spyware often comes hidden within another app. Only down­load and open files and apps you trust. Don’t down­load any­thing without an active antivirus.

Keep your software and operating systems updated

Spyware software often takes advantage of security issues within apps, browsers, and operating systems. These issues are regularly fixed with updates. Enable automatic updates for your computer and phone to be safe.

Don’t grant apps unnecessary device permissions

Many apps collect information about you with your permission. Consider which apps need to get access to your contacts, micro­phone, location, etc. Don’t allow apps to collect information without a good reason. You can edit already granted permissions from your phone’s privacy settings.

F-Secure TOTAL

F-Secure — we see what you don’t

Spyware tries to stay hidden. F‑Secure TOTAL sees the danger even when you don’t and keeps you safe. TOTAL includes award-winning protection against spyware, viruses, ransom­ware, known phishing web­sites, and many other online threats. It also includes an unlimited VPN and a handy pass­word manager.

Try it for free for 30 days, with no credit card required.