Is your small business’s information technology (IT) infrastructure vulnerable to grayware? While not as harmful as conventional malware, grayware can still pose various risks. Among other things, it can slow down infected devices, track users’ activities and trigger annoying pop-up ads. To better protect against your small business against grayware, though, you must first understand the basics of this cyber threat and how it works.

The Basics of Grayware

Grayware consists of unwanted apps and software that aren’t necessarily malicious but can cause performance issues, as well as security risks, when left unaddressed.

Malware, of course, is characterized by its malicious intent. Depending on the type of malware, an infection may have crippling effects that restricts access to some of all of your files. Grayware, on the other hand, is a less-concerning type of cyber threat that doesn’t have malicious intent. Instead, it simply causes performances issues while potentially opening the doors to other security risks.

Common types of grayware include the following:

  • Spyware
  • Adware
  • Unwanted remote access tools

What’s the Purpose of Grayware?

Grayware is typically deployed by businesses and marketers for monetary gain. As previously mentioned, spyware and adware are two common types of grayware. Spyware is apps and software that spy on a target victim’s activities. If one of your small business’s computers is infected with spyware, it may track the websites you visit on that computer.

Adware, on the other hand, is designed to deploy ads on the infected computer. The business or marketer behind the adware attack typically earns revenue for either ad impressions or clicks.

Signs and Symptoms of a Grayware Infection

How do you know if one of your small business’s computers has been infected with grayware? For starters, you’ll probably notice performance issues, the most notable being longer-than-average load times when running legitimate programs

While grayware isn’t necessarily the same as malware, it can still be identified using anti-virus software. Most types of anti-virus software are designed to scan for grayware. By scanning your small business’s computers and devices on a regular basis, you can spot grayware in the early stages of deployment.

If a computer is infected with adware, you’ll likely notice pop-up ads when using it. The pop-ups will likely only occur if or when the computer is connected to the internet. They’ll display as boxes over your web browser, thereby restricting your productivity when using the infected computer.