To start things off, what is spyware?
Spyware is malicious software that gathers information about a person or organization and sends it to another entity for the purpose of harming them, like violating their privacy, endangering the security of their device, or stealing their identity. Spyware is usually goes unnoticed by the victim, as it’s a virus that is specifically designed to run in the background and covertly collect and send off a wide range of information on the victim, such as their web browsing habits, search history, login credentials, and financial information.
Spyware is usually bundled with legitimate software that was intentionally downloaded; however, it can also be acquired by visiting unsafe websites or clicking on links and attachments in infected emails, SMS, or social media messages. Nowadays, rather than targeting individual users, spyware creators aim to gather as much data as they can and sell it to advertisers, spammers, scammers, or hackers.
So, how do we find and remove spyware from our devices?
You may be able to identify some symptoms of spyware on your device. Some of the most common signs that someone may be spying on you through your devices are:
- Overheating. Devices tend to heat up when they have too many processes running in the background, so if you aren’t overusing your device and find that it is heating up, you may have some sort of spyware installed.
- Draining battery. Spyware is quite power intensive, as it constantly runs in the background. Although batteries do degrade over time, look out for a sudden and significant change in your device’s battery life.
- Unfamiliar applications. Search your device for any applications that you don’t remember intentionally downloading.
- Slow or crashing apps. If you have some sort of malware installed, your device may be slow to open or run apps and may crash occasionally.
If you believe there may be infected with spyware, or any sort of malware for that matter, you can download Avast One for Mac, PC, Android, or iOS. Avast is a trusted and award-winning antivirus software that provides a free antivirus program. The premium versions also allow for device clean-up, data breach protection and VPN services.