Spyware comes in multiple forms and is a constantly-evolving threat to you and your computer. Generally, it behaves differently to common viruses and targets your personal data. Spam email is one of the ways your system is infiltrated – with mail.com, our smart scans and powerful filters help keep you safe.
Understanding spyware with mail.com
There are thousands of types of malware online, with new ones being created all the time. That’s why it’s important to stay up-to-date. At mail.com, we’re here to help. We provide information on the malware currently in circulation, so you know what to look for – and how to protect yourself.
In addition to this, we provide all our customers with powerful antivirus software that’s regularly updated, so you’re protected against the latest online threats. Get more from your email with mail.com.
What is spyware?
Spyware is a generic name and can be divided into four categories: system monitors, Trojans, adware and tracking cookies.
The main purpose of spyware is to monitor Internet users’ activity and relay this information. It can also be used to change the browser configurations and deliver unsolicited advertisements. In a fifth category, keyloggers record each key pressed on the keyboard. This is often deliberately installed by the administrator of a shared or public computer to monitor the users of a single system.
How spyware is different from a virus
While both fall into the malicious software (malware) category, and can have a serious effect on a computer’s performance, there are some essential differences between viruses and spyware.
- The aim of a virus is for it to spread as quickly as possible to as many computers as possible.
- In general, spyware does not try to propagate to other systems. Instead, most spyware installs itself without the user knowing. It is usually concealed and often difficult to detect as there are little to no signs of its function.
- The goal is to remain undetected and accrue data which can then be sold. However, there is some spyware that propagates in the form of a virus, and there are some viruses that install spyware.
Beyond intruding upon privacy and causing system problems, spyware can also be used to perpetrate serious crimes. Spyware designed to record emails, chat logs, and decode passwords can be used to gather and gain access to all types of confidential information, while spyware designed to transmit your bank card and account numbers can lead to identity theft.
What does spyware do
Spyware is installed onto a system by the user, usually without their knowledge. It is largely bundled with desirable software and disguises itself as a legitimate application. It can also be installed through downloading attachments, especially in spam emails, and through peer-to-peer file sharing. Some websites may force the download and installation of spyware. Once installed, it performs three primary functions: collecting personal information, sending unsolicited advertisements, and reconfiguring computer settings.
Spyware records personal information by positioning itself in between the webserver and the web browser. Once installed, depending on the complexity of the spyware, it can gain access to any information that passes through. This includes:
- Emails and chat logs
- Search history
- Websites visited
- Bank details
- Video calls
Adware is a software that automatically displays advertisements on a computer. When in the form of spyware, adware performs a nonconsensual analysis of the sites the user has visited and generates advertisements based on this information. These are often in the form of a pop-up or a window that cannot be closed. The information gained from adware based spyware is also sold to marketers and advertisers.
Some spyware interferes with the control of the computer by redirecting the browser homepage and installing components or ad-ons that may also result in slower internet speeds. Finally, spyware tends to embed itself deeply into the computer’s operating system. Although it may be difficult to detect at first, since it uses memory and system resources, spyware can overload a system causing infected computers to slow and crash.
Spyware in emails
In order for spyware to infect a system, it must be downloaded. There are several ways this can happen, but one important point of entry into an operating system is spam.
- Simply opening an email is unlikely to allow spyware access. However, often the links and attachments contained in unsolicited emails are a way for spyware to install itself.
- In some cases, following a URL will lead to a website that attacks the operating system. In order to prevent infection, there are practical protocols to help minimize the risk, such as not opening emails from unknown senders and deleting suspicious or too-good-to-be-true offers.
- However, the most effective method is using a powerful spam filter that automatically redirects suspicious content.
How to prevent and remove spyware with mail.com
At mail.com, we understand how important it is to keep the information in your email account safe and secure. That’s why we provide all of our customers with comprehensive antivirus software that protects your information at all times. Our software has been designed to ensure that your mail.com account doesn’t open the door to potentially harmfully malware.
This is done by performing in-depth virus scans and alerting you to the presence of potentially suspicious content. Added to this are our powerful spam filters. Our antivirus software acts quickly to ensure all spam is redirected, keeping your inbox clean and your computer safe. So whether you’re downloading files from friends and family, or operating a business email account, with mail.com’s comprehensive anti-virus software you can do so with complete peace of mind.
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