Assuming your privacy is always secure when you work online is never advised. Malicious eyes may be following your activities and observing both your personal interactions and data using spyware, a kind of malicious software.

Spyware is among the most common threats to enterprises professionals online, covertly infecting company computers in order to execute a wide range of illegal operations involving data leaks and identity theft. Spyware is often exceptionally simple to be caught out by, and it’s tough to identify and remove. This is mainly because most users are entirely unaware of its existence. In the following sections, we’ll put spyware under the microscope and explore the ways it infiltrates enterprise devices.

What exactly is spyware?

While it sounds like equipment from an espionage film, spyware is a form of malware that can infect computers or mobile devices and is able to collect data about their users. This may include websites visited, content that is downloaded, payment card information, online account details, passwords, usernames and even the emails users receive and send out to contacts.

Spyware is designed to be unobtrusive. It makes its way onto company computers and other personal devices without the user’s knowledge or authorisation, effectively attaching itself to operating systems. It can be sneakily added to legitimate software, and when a user ticks a terms and conditions box, they inadvertently authorise its installation by not reading the agreement’s fine print.

Regardless of the attack vector used to get spyware onto your device, once in operation, spyware processes are usually the same. It will run silently in the background of your system, maintaining a hidden presence. From its secret hiding place, it will quietly monitor your activity and collect personal and enterprise information. Its purpose is typically to execute malicious acts centred around your device and the ways it is used. Even if identified, spyware is not simple to clean from your system, and there’s never a straightforward feature for uninstalling it.

How does spyware end up on company computers and mobile devices?

The following are just some of the ways that spyware has been known to infect company devices:

Security backdoors

Security vulnerabilities on a computer’s software or hardware can be exploited, allowing spyware to be installed via a backdoor.

Spoofing and phishing

Often combined together in an attack, these malicious messages from spoofed sources lead users to bogus websites to download malware, or simply include a link to click on that loads spyware onto enterprise devices.

Malicious marketing

Authors of spyware advertise downloads for apparently useful programs that may speed up internet access, manage downloads or clean hard drives. However, these programs are just bait for spyware to be installed.

Freeware bundles

Free bundles of software offered online can also be infected with spyware, and, like misleading marketing tools, they are simply designed to disguise the spyware hidden within.

A secure workspace for enterprise staff

The Galaxkey secure workspace stores no passwords for spyware to steal, and there are no backdoors for exploitation. Contact our team today for a free online demonstration.