The Virus Lab – What is Spyware?


Spyware is a type of Malware created to gain access to your personal information without your consent to send to third parties. Just as it sounds, Spyware essentially “spies” on the user for the hacker. Spyware programs can come in many various forms such as Trojan Horses, adware or tracking cookies.

Traits of Spyware:

  • Bundled with downloads of freeware – the user will unknowingly and automatically agree to the terms of service upon installment.
  • Runs in the background collecting information  Keyloggers are used to monitor what you type and where, collecting various levels of personal information including passwords, PIN and credit card numbers, and private messages.
  • Infects your Web browsers and changes settings.

Types of Spyware:

  • Adware – tracks browser and internet activity to create personalize pop-ups.
  • Trojans most common in cell phone spyware, multiplying and affecting other devices.
  • Mobile spywarerecording calls, personal messages, GPS tracking, and personal files.
  • Tracking cookiestrack web searches, downloads, and history.
  • System monitorstrack any activity on your device, not just on the browser.

How to Avoid a Spyware Infection:

  • Do run a routine FixMeStick scan.
  • Do use a password manager.
  • Do clear your web browser often.
  • Do pay attention to what you are downloading onto your computer.
  • Do check programs installed on your PC. Visits your Control Panel and then choose Add or Remove Programs  or Uninstall a program. There you can see what is installed on your computer and you’ll have the power to remove anything you don’t want.
  • Do read licensing agreements.
  • Don’t click on pop-ups.

Want to learn more about the different types of computer viruses? Check out other blogs in our Virus Lab series below!

What is Malware and Why Does it Exist?
What is A Trojan?
What is a Backdoor?
What is Scareware?