Spyware is spread in a computer through various ways, and one of the common approaches is through phishing attacks that can be attached to an email, text messages, pop-up window in browsers and ads on web pages. The attackers send phishing emails and links and convince the users to click on that link or emails which leads to malicious websites.
- Malvertising is a common type of spyware through which infected ad is delivered to legitimate sites through a legal ad network. The threat actor inserts the malicious code on the authorized websites which infect the users when they visit the website.
- Opening infected files is a common way of distributing spyware. The infected files are attached to an email message which spreads to the system after the user clicks on it. Such files are typically attached to email messages which are difficult to identify as they are originated from a trusted source.
- Users are also enticed to download spyware. The spyware is inserted in the software during the production, and the developer may not be aware of it. Such spyware remains on the computer despite deleting the software.
- Spyware is also distributed through mobile phone. Google and Apple catch malicious apps through their play store, but the attackers use more advanced ways of spreading spyware.
How to prevent spyware
Spyware mostly enters a system through phishing links and emails. The users without having any knowledge of spyware or malware clicks on random links and emails and open attachments they shouldn’t, which is a deplorable cybersecurity practice.
Employees should be trained in malware and spyware. They should take care while downloading files. They should use an antivirus or antimalware program which somehow helps in preventing spyware. Firms should make sure that the software security if from a trusted and reputable vendor.
Mobile users can prevent spyware by downloading apps from Google Play and the Apple store. Google play is available for Android users whereas the iOS user can use Apple store. They should use (MDM) mobile device management software which helps in preventing spyware by limiting the download of non approved apps.
Spyware can be used by installing ad-blocker in the browsers, Adblock plus, and anti-tracking software is used to reduce the risk of spyware infection. Proper endpoint protection solutions are also used to detect adware and spyware. Effective security awareness program should be provided to employees and teach them how to avoid spyware and other malware infection.