If you have reason to believe that spyware has infected your laptop or PC you shouldn’t waste any time bringing to the pros at Affordable Computers in Wheat Ridge, Colorado to have it thoroughly inspected. Spyware is a scourge of the modern era and is designed to be nothing less than a digital thief that takes up residence on your machine and waits for you to input valuable personal information which it then steals and delivers to the spyware maker. Most people are not aware of just how common spyware is, or how easy it is for this type of malware to turn their lives upside down. Below we’ll provide a number of things every computer owner should know about spyware.
Cheap Laptops are Not the Only Ones Vulnerable to Spyware
“Spyware” is an umbrella term used to describe any type of program written for the specific purpose of stealthily infiltrating a computer and stealing information. Not all spyware works the same way or is after the same data. Some types of spyware are after passwords, credit card numbers and the like. While other types are designed to collect data on which websites you visit, what apps you use and what type of things you buy online. Here are a few important things to know about spyware:
- How it works - Spyware is designed to worm its way onto your computer by surreptitious means. It’s a type of surveillance. Like when the police sit outside a suspect’s house without that suspect’s knowledge, waiting to see who comes and goes. But unlike police surveillance, spyware is not intended to stop crime but to commit crimes. To find its way onto your machine spyware typically takes advantage of weaknesses in software programs, weaknesses in your antivirus protection or comes as a seemingly innocent email attachment. Once you open that attachment the spyware slips in and sets up shop. You should also be careful when sharing USB drives because they are often infected with spyware.
- How you can tell if someone is spying on you - It’s a curious reality that the antivirus program that allowed the spyware to slip into your computer like a Trojan horse in the night is the same antivirus that can be used to detect if there is spyware on your system. Exactly how spyware designers are able to write programs that somehow evade your antivirus program and why those programs can’t see it when it’s being installed is something of a mystery. Nevertheless, if you suspect that there may be spyware on your cheap laptops or PC you should run a full antivirus scan. If it’s there, chances are good that the same antivirus software that let it in will find it.
- Small-time crooks are not the only ones who develop spyware - Unfortunately, spyware is not the exclusive domain of the individual cybercriminal. Many governments have people on the payroll whose only job is to develop spyware that can conduct clandestine surveillance on regime targets. In China for instance, the state actively employs spyware to monitor enemies of the state. While in other countries governments plant spyware on the digital devices of journalists, dissidents and other perceived “troublemakers”.
- You can’t really blame it all on one browser anymore - In the past if you were wondering how a piece of malware or an aggressive virus may have gotten into your machine there was one program above all others that was likely to blame: Internet Explorer, or IE. But the days when Microsoft’s market leading browser was the obvious culprit have passed. In 2015 Microsoft replaced IE with a new browser, Edge. Edge was/is every bit the safety equal of competitors Firefox and Chrome. So if you’re using Edge on your Windows machine and you have spyware it’s no longer a slam dunk sure thing that Microsoft’s browser is to blame.
- How to remove spyware If you suspect your laptop or PC has been infected with spyware the best course of action is to bring it to the pros at Affordable Computers in Wheat Ridge. Our advanced diagnostic programs and years of practical, real world experience allow us to determine in short order if your machine is being spied on. We will then clear the offending spyware apps from your computer and provide you with a fresh start. We might also recommend a more robust suit of antivirus programs as well.
- Best ways to avoid infection - Computer security experts have been warning of the dangers of unsolicited email attachments for years. And the danger is just as real if you own cheap laptops or state-of-the-art machines. The bottom line is that unless the attachment is one you are expecting or was sent by someone you implicitly trust you should not open it/download it. Even if it is sent by someone you know you should scan it before opening or downloading it. Every time. In addition always avoid suspicious websites, avoid downloading programs from unfamiliar websites and be very careful what you download from entities like Google play. As many apps from that site have had to be removed after spyware was discovered in them.
Spyware is common but not inevitable. The best way to protect yourself is to keep the above information in mind and to exercise caution when using email or downloading apps from the internet. Talk to the pros at Affordable Computers in Wheat Ridge, Colorado for more info.