Spyware is a type of malware that hides deep inside your computer. Unlike more visible types of malware, spyware lets you go about your tasks while secretly recording information—especially passwords and other sensitive credentials. Since spyware is difficult to notice, both home users and system administrators need to prioritize its prevention and detection. Thankfully, even if you have spyware, it’s easy to get rid of with the right tools.
What Is Spyware?
A type of malicious software (“malware”), spyware is any type of virus that records sensitive information. Some spyware might perform certain tasks such as logging passwords, taking screenshots, and stealing credit card data—among others.
In most cases, spyware uses its host’s internet connection to send stolen information back to a hacker. Hackers then use the stolen information to compromise accounts, infiltrate networks, or steal money and valuable data. Like other types of cyberattacks, however, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Prevention is crucial to mitigating the risks of spyware. Even if you manage to detect spyware, it may have already stolen valuable information.
The first step in spyware protection is to install security basics such as antivirus and other computer monitoring software. These tools will help you automatically quarantine and remove any spyware that manages to sneak in. Spyware and ransomware prevention also comes down to good sense: Avoid suspicious communications and file attachments, and be sure to install regular software updates.
Even if your computer already has spyware, quick detection can help avoid future damage. Since spyware is difficult to notice through observation alone, however, you’ll need to use strong spyware software to detect it. In most cases, spyware software performs regular, automatic scans of your computer’s filesystem and cybersecurity network monitoring. Upon detection, spyware software quarantines the spyware for later review and removal.
Spyware software usually performs spyware removal automatically. However, the removal process doesn’t stop after deletion: Some spyware can leave “backups” behind to start spying again after a certain amount of time. As a result, it’s important to perform spyware checks as regularly as possible—at least once a day. Also, be sure to regularly update your spyware software so you can stay on top of the latest threats.
Fixing Spyware Damage
Once you’ve detected spyware, assume that it’s already sent valuable information to a hacker. At this point, it’s crucial to perform data loss prevention to help mitigate future damage.
First, review all of the accounts you’ve accessed with your computer and check for suspicious activity. Most importantly, change all of your passwords and keep your account information in a safe place, regardless of whether you found any suspicious activity—many hackers will wait for the right time to strike. Once you’ve reviewed your accounts and changed your passwords, be sure to perform regular spyware scans to detect future infections as early as possible.
Choosing Spyware Software
The right spyware software is a valuable tool in helping you prevent, detect, and remove spyware from your computer or server. In addition to using spyware software, server monitoring software such as PA Server Monitor can help detect unusual activity by thoroughly logging events and network usage.
For more information on PA Server Monitor and our other secure data solutions, call our security team at 1-800-401-2339.