Cyber Security – What is Spyware?

by - 15 June 2021
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Spyware is a form of malware that is designed to spy on your digital activity. It may be used as a tool to search your computer for existing files, images, passwords, contacts etc. It could also install a keylogger, be taking screenshots or recordings of what you’re doing and send the information back to a cybercriminal.

How Spyware Gets on Your Computer

Spyware, as its name would suggest, is a sneaky tool that works its way onto your computer, typically without your knowledge. There are four main types of spyware:

This type of spyware tracks your internet browsing history and downloads, it’s purpose is to predict what products or services you may be interested in. You will then see display advertisements for similar or related products, in the hope that you will make a purchase. This type of spyware generally isn’t dangerous, but it can slow your computer down.


A trojan is a type of malicious software that disguises itself as legitimate software. A common example of this is an update pretending to be Java or Flash player. Trojans are controlled by a third party and are generally used for malicious purposes – stealing information. 

Tracking cookies

Similar to Adware, tracking cookies track your web activities, such as search history and downloads for marketing purposes. 

System monitors 

The most dangerous version of Spyware, system monitors capture almost everything you do on your computer. They generally have a keylogger feature that records everything you type, giving the cybercriminals your password details. System monitors are most often disguised as free software or freeware.

The most common ways your computer can become infected with spyware include:

1. Accepting a pop-up or prompt without reading it first

2. Opening emails and attachments from unknown senders

3. Illegally downloading movies, music or games 

4. Downloading software from unknown or unreliable sources

How to Prevent a Spyware Infection

1. Ensure you have a good quality antivirus platform installed on your devices.

2. Check with your IT Support team before downloading anything free

3. Only open emails and attachments from known and trusted senders

4. Never click on pop-up advertisements 

How Powernet Can Help

One of the most challenging things about Spyware is that it is continually changing and updating new evasive measures and backdoor techniques to fool users and security services. The best way to keep your company safe is to prevent contamination in the first place.

Powernet provides sophisticated cybersecurity solutions, we understand that every business has different technical, regulatory and industry-specific vulnerabilities.

Our cybersecurity team across MelbourneSydney and Brisbane can help you assess whether you have the right measures in place, and what else you can do to stay safe online, get in touch to learn more.