What is Spyware? The 10 Examples of Spyware You Need to Know

Do you know what is spyware? Malicious software like spyware can damage your system and steal your personal information. In today’s guide, you will get to know about spyware and its different types. Also, we have explained the real-world examples of spyware that have already been detected in this article. So, hang on till the end of the doc and get to know if you are the next in the line for a spyware attack.

What is Spyware? The 10 Examples of Spyware You Need to Know

What is Spyware? The 10 Examples of Spyware You Need to Know

It is malicious software that enables hackers to obtain covert information about another’s computer activities by transmitting data directly from their hard drives.

  • This piece of software can infect your computer and spy on your data.
  • Spyware programs record any personal information, including search and browsing histories, login credentials, and even credit card details.
  • Spyware is permanently installed on your system without your content.
  • It usually comes bundled with another intentionally downloaded software on your PC.
  • Spyware works by attaching it to the operating system and running quietly in the background.
  • There are many individual spyware programs online, along with the ones bundled with hardware.
  • Hackers use spyware to gather as much data as possible and then sell it to advertisers, spammers, scammers, and other hackers.

Types of Spyware

Let us discuss different types of spyware that can be broadly categorized into five:

1. Keyloggers

Keyloggers are software programs that are also known as system monitors. This type of spyware records the keystrokes typed on a keyboard by the user connected to an infected Windows computer. Keyloggers are known to record your computer activity, including search history, email activity, websites accessed, chat room communications, system credentials, and more. Some keyloggers can also collect information or documents which are going through printers.

2. Infostealers

The next category is Infostealers which provide third parties with sensitive information from an infected computer, including usernames, passwords, email addresses, browser history, log files, system information, documents, spreadsheets, media files, and more. Infostealers store the data collected on a remote server or locally for later retrieval. Injection scripts can be used by Infostealers to add extra fields to web forms. This way, on submitting the information, it goes directly to the hacker.

3. Password Stealers

Another spyware type is Password Stealers, which, as the name suggests, steal login credentials from devices which are infected. They steal information like critical passwords or system login credentials. Password stealers attach themselves to the browser to extract saved usernames and passwords.

4. Banking Trojans

The next category in the types of spyware is Banking Trojans which are extremely dangerous as they can access and record your sensitive information stored or processed through online banking systems. Banking trojans use browser security to get credentials from financial institutions, modify transaction content or web pages, or insert additional transactions. The institutions that may fall prey to banking trojans include online financial portals, banks, brokerages, and digital wallets.

5. Modem Hijackers

The last type of spyware that attacks your broadband is Modem Hijackers. This one attacks users when they browse the internet. It appears as a pop-up window that prompts the user to click on it and then gets silently downloaded to take control of their dial-up modem. Modem hijackers work by disconnecting the phone line from the current local connection instead of connecting to an international one.

Next, we will discuss what is the most common type of spyware.

Also Read: How to Tell If Your iPhone Has a Virus

What is the Most Common Type of Spyware?

Now that you are aware of Spyware, its types, and examples in detail, it is easy to figure out what is the most common type of Spyware. Adware is the most common type of spyware that attacks your PC by causing pop-up advertising. Adware works by stealing information stored on your PC and sending it without your permission while accessing any infected site.

Examples of Spyware

Along with the advancement in cybersecurity technologies, while some spyware programs have disappeared, other more advanced threatening programs have emerged. We have gathered some most common examples of spyware below:

1. CoolWebSearch (CWS)

A common spyware example that installs itself on running Microsoft computers is called CWS. This virus program exploits Internet Explorer (IE) vulnerabilities and hijacks a user’s web search, IE settings, and other homepage activities.

2. Gator (GAIN)

The next one is Gator, a type of Adware that displays or downloads advertising automatically onto the user’s computer. This spyware is bundled with other free software programs and pirated applications that can harm your device. It targets a system with personalized ads. Gator also monitors the victim’s web surfing habits and uses that information to serve them with better-targeted advertisements.

3. Advanced Keylogger

Another example of spyware is Advanced Keylogger which targets your computer memory to function while remaining visible. This spyware is known to monitor keystrokes and take screenshots. This spyware helps hackers to keep track of the activities of a keyboard.

4. Internet Optimizer

Internet Optimizer is an adware and spyware program that redirects Internet Explorer error pages to advertising pages. Internet Optimizer is initially downloaded to optimize the internet performance of a PC, but instead, it leads to an internet page full of ads.

5. FinSpy (aka FinFisher)

FinSpy is one of the classic examples of Spyware used to infiltrate Windows, Android, Linux, macOS, and iOS devices. Depending upon the platform, FinSpy is used by law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and threat actors to switch on cameras, modify files, record and transmit images, and a lot more.

6. TIBS Dialer

TIBS Dialer is a type of spyware that, to access pornographic websites, connects to different toll numbers and disconnects the user’s computer from local phone lines. It also installs on your PC through email attachments on spam or the internet. However, this spyware does not affect your PC but leaves you with an enormous telephone bill at the end of its run-on pornographic websites.

7. GO Keyboard

Even though GO Keyboard is known as a legitimate mobile application, once installed on Android, it shares personal information with its remote servers without consent from users. GO Keyboard is one of those examples of spyware that shares information like Android OS version, Google account email address, device model and screen size, network types, location, preferred language, and social media interactions. This Spyware works by executing code from a remote server to breach Google Play privacy policies.

Also Read: What is Malware and What Does it Do?

8. Zlob

Zlob is one of the severe kinds of Spyware that infects the Windows operating system on your PC. Also known as Zlob Trojan, this spyware can infect a user’s computer by pretending to be a fake video codec in the form of Active X. Zlob works by using vulnerabilities in the Active X codec to download itself to a computer and record search and browsing histories along with keystrokes.

9. HawkEye

HawkEye is a dangerous and infamous trojan and keylogger. HawkEye infects machines to track key logs and other inputs. Even though this spyware is designed to steal information from infected devices, it can also be used as a loader.

10. Look2Me

Look2Me is a fake social alert and engineering attack that tries to trick users into installing a malicious program or subscribing to unneeded paid services. This spyware also tracks users’ primary information, like their behavior, social media interactions, and website logs, and shares it with a remote server. This stored information is then further used by hackers to show intrusive advertisements.


This brings us to the end of our guide on examples of spyware. We hope you know a great deal about spyware, what it is, its types, and examples. If you have some other queries, please ask them by leaving your comments below.

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