Weekly Cyber Tips

Spyware is a type of malware (or malicious software) that collects sensitive credentials from a computer system without user’s consent and without the users knowing.

Once installed, it monitors users activities on the computer & internet and then transmits the details to malicious actors. These malicious software can even steal login id, password & credit card information.

While the term spyware suggests software that monitors a user’s computing, the functions of spyware can extend beyond simple monitoring. Spyware can also interfere with a user’s control of a computer by installing additional software or redirecting web browsers. Some spyware can change computer settings, which can result in slow Internet connection speeds, un-authorized changes in browser settings, or changes to software settings.

How Do You Know If You Have Spyware?

Spyware can be downloaded from web sites, email messages, instant messages, and from direct file-sharing connections. Additionally, a user may unknowingly receive spyware by installing a software program, and the spyware piggybacks onto that installation as additional suggested software. Users may also be unaware that some browser add-ons contain spyware.

Spyware frequently attempts to remain unnoticed, either by actively hiding or by simply not making its presence on a system known to the user. However, sometimes there can be signs that you may be infected:

  • Your computer starts to run slower than usual.
  • You start to receive an unusual amount of pop up ads.

  • There are new toolbars on your browser that you did not install either on your desktop or webbrowser.
  • Your browser’s home page has changed to a page that you are unfamiliar with.
  • Your web searches become redirected to other spam sites.

How Do I Avoid Spyware?

  • Be selective about what you download to your computer.

  • Watch out for anti-spyware scams trying to trick you into downloading an application to combat spyware or malwares.

  • Beware of clickable ads.
  • Do not accept or open suspicious error dialogs from within the browser.
  • Spyware may come as part of a “free deal” offer – do not accept free deals.

  • Keep software and security patches up to date.

If you suspect you are a victim of spyware please contact Manitoulin IT Team

Olalomi Safiu
Cybersecurity Analyst
Manitoulin Group of Companies
M 416-660-1407
Manitoulin Group of Companies