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Spyware definition

Spyware is a type of malware that collects data on a device and passes it to third parties without the device owners’ knowledge or consent. Cybercriminals use it to collect data about their victims, government agencies track both criminals and regular citizens with it, and corporations sometimes use spyware to monitor their employees.

Types of spyware

  • Keyloggers track users’ keyboard strokes to steal login credentials.
  • Adware tracks users’ browsing activity and sells that data to advertisers or serves the user malicious ads intended to infect their device with more malware when clicked on.
  • Stalkerware can be a regular parental monitoring software that’s used to stalk someone in secret by tracking their location, logging their browsing, and reading the messages they send out and receive.

Preventing spyware

  • Browse mindfully and never click on random links or ads.
  • Only download files to your computer if you are sure they are safe.
  • Constantly update your security software.
  • Use NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature to scan your downloaded files for malware.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security