What safeguards have you implemented to protect against spyware attacks? Not to be confused with adware, spyware is a common and widespread form of malware. It lives up to its namesake by “spying” on your data, which it typically collects and sends to a hacker. If you have sensitive data stored on your computer, or if you have online accounts containing sensitive data, a hacker may access it through spyware.
Use a Secure Web Browser
Like other forms of malware, spyware generally requires downloading. You may come across a file on the internet, believing it’s legitimate, only for it to infect your computer with spyware once you download it. Fortunately, many web browsers are designed to block spyware threats. If they believe a file is spyware or any other form of malware, they’ll prevent you from downloading it.
Some of the most secure web browsers include the following:
- Google Chrome
- Mozilla Forefox
Install a Firewall
To further protect against spyware, consider installing a firewall. A firewall is an intermediary traffic-filtering application that sits between your network and the internet. It works by checking the traffic coming into and going out of your network for signs of malware, including spyware. If the firewall identifies a potential threat, it will block the traffic containing that threat.
There are different types of firewalls. Some of them only check traffic for basic information, such as Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Others check traffic for more in-depth information, such as the contents of their packets. Regardless, all firewalls offer at least some degree of protection against spyware attacks.
Run Anti-Spyware Software
There’s software available to defend against spyware attacks. Known as anti-spyware, it works like antivirus software by scanning your computer and neutralizing potential threats.
With that said, you don’t have to necessarily run anti-spyware. Most types of antivirus software can neutralize spyware threats as well. When they detect spyware on your computer, they’ll neutralize it in one of two ways: deleting it or quarantining it.
Beware of Emails
Use caution when reading and interacting with emails. Email is a common vector for spyware attacks. You may receive an email containing a file from what appears to be someone on your contacts list. When you download the file, though, your computer will become infected with spyware. You can still use email as a digital communications tool, but be conscious of attached files. It only takes a single malicious attachment to infect your computer with spyware.