What is Spyware, and how do you avoid it?

Spyware is a growing concern when it comes to ensuring digital security. The use of spyware is one of the quickest and easiest ways for data thieves to compromise PC security and access confidential information. Spyware is relatively easy to avoid, however, provided you follow the key safety tips

Defining the terms

So, first things first, what is spyware? Spyware is a general term, and it’s used to cover any software that is designed to track information about the system it’s installed on. There are legitimate spyware programs out there, but for the most part spyware is not desirable and finds its way into systems through viruses.

When installed in a system, spyware will begin tracking important information – passwords, the contents of documents, maybe even keystrokes. All spyware programs are different and are often tailored to the requirements of the data thieves who have sent them, depending on what information they want to gather.

How do you avoid it?

Avoiding spyware is relatively easy provided you’re conscientious about your browsing habits. If you don’t have an antivirus program installed on your computer, it’s time to remedy that – even if it’s just Windows Defender. It can help alert you to the presence of spyware, then take appropriate action to remove it.

Then you need to remember to always think twice when you’re browsing the internet. Only visit trusted websites – they should have ‘https’ in the web address, rather than just ‘http’. If you download something, make sure it’s coming from a trusted source and you know exactly what it is that you’re downloading.

Another tip is to avoid using the computer as an administrator unless you have to. If spyware gets downloaded into an account with admin privileges, it can then make system-wide changes from that account. If it’s not an admin account, the spyware will at least be contained to that account until it can be dealt with.

The most important advice !

When it comes to spyware, and avoiding it, the most important thing you can do is to browse cautiously. If you’re sensible when browsing, spyware should never be an issue.