We are exposed to many and varied online threats: malware, ransomware, pishing techniques, DDOS ... And these are just some of the main ones.
But within that group, there is a type of malicious program that should arouse greater concern among users , and no wonder. It is called creepware, and it refers to a specific type of software that, when installed on our computer or mobile device, broadcasts what our camera or webcam is capturing in real time.
Creepy is an understatement. In addition, these types of practices are usually associated with different types of fraud or threats . Without going any further, this week, we learned that Google removed a total of 813 creepware applications from its official Play Store with the capacity to carry out interpersonal attacks against users who downloaded them.
Do you want to know more about creepware programs, what consequences they have on users and how we can protect ourselves from them ? We tell you everything in this article.
What is creepware?
As we anticipated at the beginning of this post, creepware programs seek to violate our privacy by accessing through any camera or webcam incorporated in a device with internet access.
Unlike other types of malware, creepware will not damage our computers or systems, but rather our image . Cybercriminals often use these practices to extort money from victims by paying a ransom, in exchange for not making their intimate photos and videos public.
Normally we don't worry about whether our laptop is open or on. But be careful, because if it had been infected with creepware, we could be exposed to the capture of images / videos about us in compromised situations from our own home and, of course, without our knowledge.
Another of the possible risks of creepware is the theft of information through the infected device . Examples of this information that we discuss can be credit card numbers, bank accounts or emails.
What can we do to protect ourselves?
If we want to protect ourselves against this type of practice, we must use common sense when browsing the Internet : do not click on suspicious links or attachments, even if the Pope himself asks us to do so via email, as it could be false. In fact, we assure you that it is.
That said, there are a number of guidelines and security measures that we can begin to internalize, if we weren't already doing so. But above all, remember to use common sense:
- Install an antivirus and keep it constantly updated.
- Do not access dubious links or open attached documents that you are not entirely sure of.
- Update your internet browser regularly, as well as your operating system.
- Try not to share files over p2p networks, such as BitTorrent, without taking precautions first.
- Do not download programs or click on links from suspicious websites.
- Change your passwords from time to time. There are several sites where you can create them for free.
- Finally, and if everything else gets too messy, get in the habit of sticking an adhesive tape over the camera of your device. Thus, we will keep cybercriminals blind.
We have to try to always be alert and not trust the fact that our computer or smartphone will never be the target of cybercriminal attacks. It can happen to anyone.