You’ve probably heard of spyware. It’s a sneaky type of malicious software that spies on a target’s activity. More sophisticated spyware like the Israeli-made Pegasus can spy on someone’s usernames, passwords, location, pictures, videos, web activity, call logs, and social media posts. Spyware is known to use your computer or device’s GPS, microphone, camera, and storage to breach your security and privacy.
It may surprise you to learn that many different types of people use spyware. Please use top spyware removal software if your confidential data is compromised or if you notice the following symptoms on your computer or smartphone:
- Mysterious slowdowns
- Pop-up windows
- Strange new apps
- Microphone or webcam activating without cause
Here are some types of people that use spyware:
In a competitive economy, some businesses have no qualms about using spyware to steal secrets and gain a leg up on the competition. They may either bribe employees to install spyware on company computers or use social engineering attacks to trick them into accepting spyware. Some corporations sponsored by states can use sophisticated technology to spy businesses.
Some draconian governments use spyware to monitor and stop activists, journalists, and even citizens from breaking harsh local laws. For example, they may use spyware to follow the activities of suspected dissidents and send them to political prisons. Likewise, they may use spyware to stalk a local business that supports a political rival.
Keyloggers are a type of spyware that records every keystroke made by a computer user. While hackers primarily use keyloggers to steal user names, passwords, intellectual property, and other confidential information, some employers also use the monitoring software to keep an eye on staff and protect private data. Keyloggers can also help organizations troubleshoot software glitches.
Although keyloggers are a breach of privacy, they’re not illegal for employees to use in many states. Some employers claim that aside from reducing corruption, keyloggers help improve efficiency by identifying employees who waste time at work by watching movies or surfing the Internet.
Some employers don’t use keyloggers secretly. Not only does it alleviate privacy concerns, but it may help motivate some employees to improve performance, knowing that they’re monitored. However, not all workers respond positively to monitoring software.
Spyware is popular with stalkers like jealous lovers and predators. Also called stalkerware or spouseware, this malicious software usually targets vulnerable people like women and children. It’s also illegal — users and creators of spyware can face lengthy prison sentences.
Many parents controversially use spyware to snoop on their kids. Although spyware may help protect very young children from cyberbullying or predators, it can be misused by an abusive parent. Privacy advocates say that there are better ways to enhance a child’s cybersecurity than using spyware. For example, parental control apps can prevent children from chatting with strangers or accessing adult websites. Likewise, buying children basic phones instead of sophisticated smartphones can also limit attack vectors.
With our data flowing through technology, spyware makes it easier for threat actors to keep tabs on us. Protecting our privacy with good anti-malware tools and a healthy dose of caution is more important than ever.
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