Do you ever feel like you're secretly being watched?
Well, unfortunately, you might be. These days, there are several ways you can be spied on, and your personal information may also be accessed without your consent.
(Image source: Istockphoto. Image shows binoculars peeping through bushes.)
Statistically, one in four women and one in six men are affected by domestic abuse in their lifetime. Victims may face numerous threats in their homes daily, so it’s important to know how to be careful and stay safe. An attacker using surveillance equipment has a good chance of being one step ahead, but it can also be used against them to get them into trouble.
Surveillance in the home is often used in a positive way. As many as 40% of British homeowners have CCTV cameras installed on their property, which can also be used as a protective measure against domestic violence since CCTV footage can provide video evidence against the abuser in a criminal investigation.
On the other hand, a study conducted by Women’s Aid found that approximately one-third of participants said their partner or ex-partner put spyware or GPS locators on their computer or phone. Similarly, The Independent claims that in the UK, nearly 10% of people admit to spying on their partners through technology. Invading personal privacy has become more accessible through technology, especially through emerging software such as spyware
Usually, spyware is discrete and barely noticeable, especially if you don’t know where to look. The tracked device can often come in the form of a gift for your home or your phone or computer could have a malicious program installed on it.
What is Spyware?
Spyware is a term used for applications that monitor people without their permission to get personal information. Electronic devices such as laptops or phones may have spyware installed on them without the user's knowledge.
This allows an external entity to track and monitor an individual's computer or phone using spyware; external entities, such as a bot or a hacker, can monitor the user's device by gaining access to its camera and microphone.
Personal information such as bank details, passwords, pictures, and the websites visited by the user can also be accessed using spyware and malware.
(Image Source: Istockphoto. Image shows two mobile phones, a tablet, and a laptop.)
One example of spyware is a keystroke logger which is a type of malware that doesn’t harm computers, unlike other malicious programs.
The program is also referred to as a keylogger and can be used to keep track of every key pressed on a qwerty keyboard and this data is sent to whoever is trying to access that information. Keyloggers can be useful for parents to supervise their children and many firms use this technique to monitor employee productivity on company computers, but keyloggers can also be used for illegal activity such as fraud and stalking.
Keyloggers can record usernames, passwords, and anything else you type into your computer without the need for physical access to your device. Typically, keyloggers are installed by tricking you into clicking a link or opening an attachment in an email, or by downloading a benign-looking program from a malicious website. As you download the program, the keylogger is downloaded onto your device as well.
Tips On How To Protect Yourself
Some signs that may indicate you are being hacked include a decline in how long your battery life lasts or a sudden increase in data usage. In addition, you may see strange activity on your online and social media accounts, or receive calls and texts from unknown numbers. You may also notice pop-ups appearing on your device frequently and see apps on your phone that you didn’t download.
(Image Source: Istockphoto. Image shows red skull and bones on a mobile phone screen indicating the phone has been hacked.)
To prevent spyware and keylogging, it’s important that you download programs from reputable websites, install security and firewalls on your phone or laptop, and avoid clicking on links in emails, texts, and websites you don’t recognise. Also, try not to use third-party apps stores because they are full of spyware apps, and be cautious about the permissions and access rights you give to mobile apps, computer programs, and browser extensions.
It is always a good idea to use strong passwords when signing up for accounts, especially for Google and Apple, as the find my phone feature can be used to pinpoint your location using GPS.
Tips On How To Protect Your Home
A home should be a place where you feel comfortable and safe, but for many, this is not the case. Devices used to spy may look like ordinary household items with a camera, mic, or GPS tracker in them. In order to stay safe, you could check all gifts that you receive and devices in your home that you are unfamiliar with. Surveillance equipment offers us peace of mind and gives us a way to keep an eye on our home at all times. Wireless doorbells, CCTV cameras, and alarm systems can act as protection against violence and abuse. At CCTV Focus, we take home security very seriously and offer a wide range of surveillance packages to keep your home safe. Check out our exclusive cameras on our website at www.cctvfocus.co.uk.
(Image source: CCTV Focus. Image shows 2 Camera Full Kit Full HD 1080P CCTV Camera System.)
Surveillance can be used both by criminals and by those who wish to protect themselves from things like domestic violence. CCTV Focus HQ hopes this article is useful to create awareness on how to avoid spyware from being installed on your device and how to use security equipment to gather evidence against abusers and criminals.
So there you have it, a round-up of how to protect yourself against spyware.
What do you think about spyware? Have you come across it before?
Let us know in the comments.
For more information about CCTV cameras and alarm systems please visit our website www.cctvfocus.co.uk or call us on 0121 695 1199 for a free consultation from one of our expert advisers.
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Written by Mohamed Ahmed
Edited by Shivani