Your business may be under attack from a silent enemy that is hard to detect. It works stealthily in the shadows to access and exploit your critical business information, sensitive confidential data and intellectual property, for commercial gain. The term ‘spyware,’ covers a wide variety of such sinister software programs that installs on a computer without the user’s knowledge to essentially hijack web browsers, monitor all user activity on a machine, open backdoors for remote attackers, steal personal information, display unsolicited advertising, and slow PC performance.
The threats and risks posed by spyware for businesses include loss of productivity, profitability and credibility, liability from privacy violations, increased helpdesk cost, and damage to brand reputation. Spyware remediation and countermeasures to keep your company computer systems as safe as possible are in fact as critical as antivirus and antispam measures.
How Does Spyware Work?
Spyware generally falls into two broad categories.
- Surveillance software that includes applications such as key loggers, screen capture devices and trojans used to collect sensitive information about the user for monetary exploitation
- Advertising spyware that can be used by legitimate companies to log information about the user’s browsing history, personal details and online shopping habits to download and display advertisements on your computer utilizing your system resources, such as RAM and CPU.
Once installed on a computer, the program begins logging keystrokes, monitors online purchasing, websites visited, personal data or scans your hard drive to gather valuable information, all of which is then silently transmitted to a third party via file transfers to be aggregated and used for either legal or illegal purposes.
How Does Spyware Infect A Computer?
Spywares are designed to do its work without attracting suspicion and uses a number of convincing disguises to get installed on a user’s computer.
Spyware can be downloaded from web sites, direct file sharing programs, free downloadable software, or even be hidden in email attachments and instant messaging applications. Users can unknowingly install the spyware by clicking on the attachment or weblink, or by downloading the software.
Spyware often relies on “Drive-by installs,” wherein innocuous-looking pop-up windows with “OK” or “Click Here To Read” buttons which, when clicked, leads to the spyware being downloaded. This method of infection is usually accompanied by some form of adware, unwanted toolbars, links, new bookmarks in web browsers, or users get a host of pop-up ads.
Spyware also uses flaws and security holes in certain web browsers.
Often users receive spyware by unwitting accepting an End User License Agreement from a software program.
The new breed of spyware is both clever and tenacious enough to remain undetected for long periods of time. This is when spyware detectors come in handy.
What Are Spyware Detectors?
Spyware detectors are antispyware programs that perform routine checks on the computer to block and prevent spyware infections so that your system is clear of any unwanted and threatening software. Antispyware applications protect organizations from spyware intrusions by automatically scanning and sending potential spyware to quarantine potential malware so that you can delete threats before they can do any damage to your computer software.
They also monitor incoming data from email, websites, and downloads of files to stop spyware programs from being installed. You won’t have to worry about which email attachments are safe to open or whether certain software is suitable for download.
Spyware detectors also send out alerts when a spyware tries to install itself on your computer and warns users against suspicious links within emails, websites and live chats.
Antispyware programs can speed up the computer and browsing performances by removing spyware, adware.
Install Antispyware To Protect Your Business Computers
Today, spyware detectors play a critical a role in securing an organization’s system, just like the antivirus and personal firewall software. Always purchase your antispyware program from a retail store or reputable online retailer so that you get a legitimate program. There are many free antispyware programs available on the net but some of these are really spyware programs in disguise and can end up infecting your computer.
Choose the best spyware detector for your business. One that can help scan, detect, remove and block spyware using a friendly and intuitive interface. There are some antispyware programs such as Malwarebytes, SuperAntispyware and Spybot – Search & Destroy that have been designed specifically to protect your machine from spyware, while others block both viruses and spyware serving as a great endpoint security system, such as Avast Endpoint Protection, Sophos Endpoint Protection or McAfee. Bitdefender’s GravityZone Business Security package is a more comprehensive security system that can easily detect and fight a variety of malware, ransomware and zero-day threats that may go undetected by traditional security products. For organizations that use a range of different devices and platforms, it may be good to give Trend Micro Worry-Free Business Security a try, as it provides protection for Windows, Mac, mobile devices and servers. Moreover it also stops emails carrying sensitive information from being sent out accidentally or even deliberately.
In today’s world of data threats, your business just cannot do without antivirus and antispyware software. Also implement proactive measures, such as being selective about what you download, reading licensing agreements, being aware of clickable ads and antispyware scams, to deal effectively with both known and unknown threats.