Life on a computer was more straightforward when you only had to worry about PC viruses. While computer viruses can be destructive by damaging your essential files, they don’t do much more than spread chaos.
Nowadays, cybercriminals focus on developing more profitable malware like spyware. Such emerging malware is tricky for traditional antivirus tools to detect because spyware often doesn’t have known signatures. Fortunately, you can find a spyware scanner free of these limitations that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to proactively remediate malware based on threatening patterns.
So, why should you be worried if you have spyware? What makes spyware so dangerous?
1. Spyware Invades Your Privacy
Spyware is designed to invade your privacy. It can secretly copy your usernames and passwords to your email accounts. It can allow predators to watch you or your family quietly. It may also reveal your location to stalkers like ex-partners, trolls, or jealous spouses. Spyware can also allow cybercriminals to eavesdrop on your private conversations or look at your intellectual property. In the wrong hands, it can be a nightmare.
2. Spyware Shows Few Symptoms if Any
You may not know that your computer has a spyware infection because it’s very sneaky. Unlike other types of malware, it may not display any symptoms. Here are some rare ones you should watch out for:
- You notice an odd browser pops up during a search that can’t be removed.
- Your homepage is not the same.
- You notice a lot of pop-up ads.
- Your computer is running slower than usual.
- Your browser crashes without cause.
- Your Internet is slowing down.
- Your hard drive runs furiously at odd hours of the day without reason.
- You notice that your webcam activates randomly.
- You lose control of your keyboard or mouse.
After a successful spyware attack, you may notice that the login credentials to your email, social media, and financial accounts are changed. You may also notice that your private pictures, videos, and documents are released online without your permission. In worse-case scenarios, spyware recorded this media without your consent.
3. Spyware Can Cause Financial Harm
Imagine if a hacker uses spyware to get the usernames and passwords to your investment, banking, or PayPal accounts. It wouldn’t take long for them to get a hold of your financial assets or purchase expensive items with your funds. Recuperating your money can be almost impossible if your financial institution holds you responsible.
Hackers can also use spyware to learn your confidential information such as your social security number, address, and credit card number in order to apply for loans in your name. Recovering from identity theft can take years, according to some experts.
4. Spyware Can Cause Emotional Distress
Spyware is so invasive that it can cause severe emotional distress among victims. The feeling of helplessness and being violated are challenging to get over. The best way to defend yourself from spyware is to take preventive steps.
Not only should you use advanced antivirus software to stay one step ahead of spyware attacks, but you must avoid opening suspicious links and emails. Likewise, be wary of corrupt email attachments and steer clear of untrustworthy websites. Finally, don’t accept computer hardware or software from people unless you trust them.