What is Spyware? How To Defend Against Spyware? – Spyware is a stealthy program that records user’s ineraction with the computer and Internet without the user’s knowledge and sends them to the remote attackers.
Spyware hides its process, files and other objects in order to avoid detection and removal.
It is similar to Trojan horse, which is usually bungled as a hidden component of freeware programs that can be available on the internet for download.
it allows attacker to gather information about a victim or organization such as email addresses, user logins, passwords credit card numbers, banking crendentials.
As its name implies, the installation of spyware is done without user knowledge or consent, and can be accomplished by “piggybacking” the spyware onto other applications.
This is possible because spyware uses advertising cookies, which is one of the spyware subclasses. Spyware can also affect your system when you visit a spyware distribution website; this process is known as “Drive-By-Downloading.”
As a result of normal web surfing or downloading activities, the system may inadvertently become infected with spyware. It can even masquerade as antispyware and run on the user’s computer without any notice, whenever the user downloads and installs programs that are bundled with spyware.
How Spyware Work?
As discussed earlier, we are now familiar with spyware and its main function of keeping its eye on user activites performed on the target computer. We also knew that once the attacker succeds in installing spyware on a victim’s computer anyway by means of propagation techniques discussed earlier, they can do many offensive things to the victim’s computer.
Now it is time to learn more about spyware capabilities other than simply monitoring user’s activities.
The installed spyware can also help the attacker perform the following on target computers:
- Steals user’s personal information and sends it to a remote server or hijacker.
- Monitors user’s online activity
- Displays annoying pop-ups
- redirects a web browser to advertising sites.
- Changes the browser’s default setting and prevents the user from restoring
- Adds several bookmarks to the browser’s favaorites list
- Decreases overall system security level
- Reduces system performance and causes software instability.
- Connects to remote pornography sites.
- Places desktop shortcuts to malicious spyware sites.
- Steal your passwords
- Sends you targeted email.
- Changes the home page and prevents the user from restoring
- Modifies the dynamically linked libraries DLL and slows down the browser
- Changes Firewall settings
- Monitors and reports websites you visit.
Types of Spyware
Today, various program enagage in a variety of offensive tasks, such as changing browser settings, displaying ads, collecting data, and so on.
Though many spyware applications perform a diverse array of benign activities, 10 major types of spyware on the internet allow attackers to steal information about users and their activities, all without their knowledge or consent.
Desktop spyware is software that allows an attacker to gain information about a user’s activity or gather personal information about the user and sent it via the Internet to third parties without the user’s knowledge or consent.
It provides informtion regarding what network users did on the their desktops, how and when. Desktop spyware allows attackers to perform the following:
- Live recording of remote desktops
- Recording and monitoring internet activites
- Recording software usage and timings
- Recording activity log and storing at one centralized location
- logging users keystrokes.
Email Spyware is a program that monitors, records and forwards all incoming and outgoing email. Once installed on the computer that you want to monitor, this type of spyware records and sends copies of all incoming and outgoing emails to you through a specified email address or saves the information on the local disk folder of the monitored computer.
This works in a stealth mode; users will not be aware of the presense of email spyware on their computer. It is also capable of recording instant messages (eg, AIM, MSN, Yahoo, MySpace, Facebook)
Internet Spyware is a utility that allows you to monitor all the web pages accessed by the users on your computer in your absense. It makes a chronological record of all visited URLs.
This automatically loads at system and runs in steath mode, which means that it runs in the background undetected. The utility records all visited URLs into a log file and sends it to a specified email address. It provides a summary report of overall web page, such as websites visited, and the time spent on each website, as well as all applications opened along with the date/time of visits.
it also allows you to block access to a specific web page or an entire website by specifying the URLs or Keywords that you want blocked.
Child-monitoring spyware allows you to track and monitor what children are doing on the computer, both online and offline. Instead of looking over the child’s shoulder, one can use child monitoring spyware, which works in a stealth mode; your children will not be aware of your surveillance.
The spyware logs all programs used, websites visited, counts keystrokes and mouse clicks, and captures screenshots of activity. All the recorded data is accesible through a password protected web interface as a hidden, encrypted file or can be sent to as specified email address.
This also allows you to protect children from accessing inappropriate web content by setting specific keywords that you want to block. It sends a real-time alert to you whenever it encounters the specific keywords on your computer or whenever your children want to access inappropriate content.
Video spyware is software for video survillance installed on the target computer without the user’s knowledge. All video activity can be recorded according to a programmed schedule.
The video spyware runs transparently in the backgraound, and secretly monitors and records webcams and video IM conversions. The remote access feature of video spyware allows the attacker to connect the remote or target system to activate alerts and electric devices, and see recorded images in a video archive or even get live images from all the cameras connected to this system using a web browser such as Internet Explorer.
Telephone/cellphone spyware is a software tool that gives you full access to monitor a victim’s phone or cell. it will completely hide itself form the user of the phone. it will record and log all activity on the phone such as internet use, text messages, and phone calls.
Then You can access the logged information via the software’s main website, or you can also get this tracking information through SMS or email. Usually, this spyware helps to monitor and track phone usage of employees.
Most common telephone/cellphone spyware features include;
- Call History – Allows you to see the entire call history of the phone (both incoming and outgoing calls)
- View Text Messages – Enables you to view all incoming and outgoing text messages. it even shows deleted messages in the log report.
- Web Site History : Records the entire history of all websites visited through the phone in the log report file.
Gps Spyware is a device or software application that uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) to determine the location of a vehicle, person, or other attached or installed assest. An attacker can use this software to track the target person.
This spyware allows you to track the phone location points and saves or stores them in a log file and sends them to the specified email address. you can then watch the target user location points by logging into the specified email address, and it displays the connected point’s trace of the phone location history on a map. It also sends email notifications of location proximity alerts. An Attacker traces the location of the target person using GPS Spyware.
In Market lots of spyware tools so But I Recommend Two Most Powerfull Apps
1 – Spytech SpyAgent
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Spytech SpyAgent is a computer spy software that allows you to monitor everything users do on your computer – in total secrecy. SpyAgent provides a large array of essential computer monitoring features, as well as website, application, and chat client blocking, logging scheduling, and remote delivery of logs via email or FTP.
It can also allow you to monitor following things on a user’s computer:
- It can reveal all websites visited
- it records all online searches performed
- It monitors what programs and apps are in use
- it can track all file usuage and printing information
- it records online chat conversations
- it also able to see every email communication on the user’s computer
- it helps you determine what the user is uploading and downloading
- it uncovers secret user passwords
- it monitors social networking behaviors
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Power Spy is a PC-User activity monitoring software. It runs and performs monitoring secretly in the background of computer system. it logs all users on the system and users wil not know its existence. After you install the software on the pc you want to monitor, you can receive log reports via emails of FTP from a remote locations, for example every hour.
Therefore, you can read these reports anywhere, on any device at any time as long as you have internet access. Power Spy Lets you know exactly what others do on the PC while you are away.
How To Defend Against Spyware?
Here Are The 14 Tips to Defends Against Spyware:
- Try to avoid using any computer system which is not totally under your control.
- Adjust browser security settings to medium or higher for internet zone.
- Be cautioys about suspicios emails and sites.
- Enable firewall to enhance to security level of the computer
- Update the software regularly and use a firewall with outbound protection
- Regularly check task manager report and MS configuration manager report.
- Update virus definition files and scan the system for spyware regularly.
- Install and use anti-spyware software.
- Perform web surfing safely and download cautiously
- Don not use administrative mode unless it is necessary
- Keep Your operating system up to date
- Do not download free music files, screensavers or smiley faces from internet.
- Beware of pop-up windows or webpages. never click anywhere on these windows
There are many anti-spyware applications avaliable in the market, which scan your system and check for spyware such as malware, Trojans, dialers, worms keyloggers, and rootkits, and remove them if found.
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SuperAntiSpyware is a software application which can detect and remove spyware, adware, trojan horses, rouge security software, computer worms, rootkits, parasites, and other potentially harmful software applications.
- Detect and remove spyware, adware and remove malware, trojans, dialers, worms, keyloggers hijackers, parasites, rootkits, rogue security products and many other types of threats.
- Repair broken internet connections, desktops, registry editing and more with our unique types of threats.
- Real-time blocking of threats. prevent potentially harmful software from installing or re-installing.
- configure SuperAntiSpyware to send you an email with the results from specific actions.
- Schedule either quick, complete or custome scans daily or weekly to ensure your computer is free from harmful software. Remove spyware authomatically.
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