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What Is Spyware

Help prevent malicious hackers from invading your privacy and disrupting productivity with Cox Business MalBlock®. Find out how this service guards against cyber threats like spyware.

Security threats come in all shapes and sizes. By understanding what you’re up against online, you can better protect your business, data and users. One of the most common threats to online users is spyware—a type of malicious software installed on a device without a user’s knowledge. Once inside the computer, spyware gathers data for a hacker to sell to third parties.

This activity leaves you vulnerable to data breaches, which puts your business and customers at risk. Moreover, spyware also compromises your network and slows down your device performance. Learn how spyware works and how to safeguard your business.

What Does Spyware Do?

Here’s how spyware typically invades a device:


  • Gain Access: Users unknowingly download spyware to their computers by clicking on a malicious application, website or file attachment posing as legitimate software.
  • Observe and Collect Data: Spyware monitors a user’s online activities, steals login credentials and spies on sensitive information. 
  • Share Stolen Data: A hacker will use the stolen data to sell to other parties, such as advertisers, data firms or other users.


Spyware is typically used to collect sensitive data like:


  • Passwords and usernames
  • Bank account information
  • Credit card numbers
  • Keyboard strokes
  • Online browsing habits
  • Contact lists

How Does Spyware Work?

Both Mac and PC devices can fall victim to spyware. Some of the most common ways spyware can infect devices are:


  • By pirating media, like online games, movies and music
  • Downloading materials from unreliable websites
  • Clicking on a pop-up advertisement
  • Opening email attachments from unknown senders

Types of Spyware

There are four main types of spyware, including:


This type of spyware gathers information to sell to advertisers or serves you malicious ads.

Trojan Horses

This malware is disguised as legitimate software and is designed to let hackers access your device.

System Monitors

This type of spyware tracks a user’s activity like keystrokes, account information and websites visited.

Tracking Cookies

Malicious files are implanted by a website to track a user’s activity on the Internet, including their searches and downloads.

How to Remove Spyware

Your first line of defense is choosing a business Internet solution with advanced security measures to help protect against online threats. Free antivirus services are available, but capabilities may be limited. These solutions often lack necessary features for blocking spyware schemes and only protect your devices for a limited amount of time. Ask your business Internet provider about the security features included in your service and follow these general tips to protect your devices from spyware:

Avoid Cookies When Possible

Almost every website asks for your permission to create cookies to provide a custom experience. However, you should be careful about which cookies you accept. Only allow cookies from websites you know and trust.

Use an Anti-Tracking Browser Extension

This tool helps you remain private when surfing the web and prevents unwanted tracking online.

Update Your Software Security

Keeping your applications and software updated with the latest security measures blocks hackers from finding vulnerabilities that allow them to access your device.

Enable Pop-Up Blockers

Turn on pop-up blockers and set to the highest settings to prevent any malware from getting in.

How to Prevent Spyware

The best way to control spyware is by preventing it from entering your device in the first place. Cox Business MalBlock helps stop cyber threats, like spyware, before they have a chance to enter your network. This service leverages machine learning to uncover current and emerging threats to automatically protect every device on your network. Sign up for Cox MalBlock and get the protection you need within minutes. Learn more about Cox Business MalBlock.

What can Malblock do for your business?

Find out how our customized solution can protect your business against cyber-attacks.

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