February-20: SECURITY ISSUE
- Posted by CERC India
- Posted in FEBRUARY
Is someone spying on my computer?
Most of us have a great deal of personal information stored on our computer â€“ photos, videos, documents, messages, and financial details. Some of the data may be sensitive and we would not like it to get into the hands of anyone else. Imagine, how alarmed we would get to know that someone was spying on our computer!
What is spyware?
Spyware is a computer software program or hardware device that enables an unauthorised person to secretly monitor and gather information about your computer use. Spyware can find out what you type, websites you visit, documents you open, and chats you send. The culprits may want to steal your personal data.
How does spyware get onto your computer? It can be installed on your computer if a person has either physical or Internet access to your computer. You may receive spyware as an attached file, a greeting card, or a computer game. Also, you should be suspicious if monitoring or stalking begins after a new keyboard, cord or software has been installed, or your computer has been recently fixed.
Described below are warning signs that someone is spying on your computer:
Your computer becomes slow: If your computer is new and you notice a sudden slowing down, it is suspicious. It could be a symptom of a malware (malicious software of which spyware is a category). Malware overloads your computer and slows it down.
The battery has a short life: AÂ short battery life or unusual heating of the computer could be signs itâ€™s infected with malware.
Problem with apps: Apps may run slowly or crash frequently if someone is spying on your computer. This may be because hackers have put a code into our apps to collect information.
More pop-up advts than usual: While surfing, you might have accidentally clicked on a suspicious banner. This can inject your computer with an advertising virus and cause advts to pop up on your screen.
Change in homepage: One more alarming sign isÂ you notice that your browserâ€™s homepage has changed. Also, you might notice that your browser opens and gives you completely different websites from what you try toÂ open.
Websites stop responding: If multiple websites are not responding and if others are able to open them on their computers, itâ€™s a red flag.
Webcam starts recording on its own: If your webcam records and the microphone isÂ onÂ by itself, it is alarming. Someone may be stealing your data, taking your photos and recording your voice as well.
Lights start blinking suddenly: Blinking send and receive lights when your computer is idle is a warning sign. This is another indicator that someone is controlling your computer.
Suspicious browser activity: Itâ€™s always aÂ good idea toÂ check your browserâ€™sÂ historyÂ regularly in the interests of security. IfÂ you notice that there are websites in the history that you never wentÂ to, this might beÂ aÂ warning sign that you are being spied on.
Unknown programmes installed: If files, toolbars or icons appear on your computer and you didnâ€™t have anything to do with it, you may the victim of spying.
Odd actions: Unexplained mouse movements and text inputs are a sign that someone or something is working in the background.
Recent files accessed but not by you: If you find an item you donâ€™t remember opening it is a sure sign that an unauthorised party has been accessing your system without your knowledge.
Â Â Â Â Â How toÂ protectÂ yourselfÂ
- Lock your computer and use a strong password to log in
- Update your system regularly
- Install an anti-spyware program
- Install aÂ reliable anti-virus program, scan your system regularly, and pay heed to anti-virus notifications.
- Avoid suspicious websites
- Download software only from trustworthy websites
- Donâ€™t open emails from unknown senders
- Be wary of links you receive via social media or emails
- Avoid using unsecure Wi-Fi networks
- Donâ€™t use a strange USB drive
Sources: www.rd.com, brightside.me, www.techsafety.org, www.popsci.com