To start with, don’t confuse grayware with ancient Greek pottery! We are talking about Grayware, one of the most prevalent threat to internet security, which most of us are not aware about. We have heard about phishing attacks, viruses, adware, malware, spyware but what is grayware? Why is it dangerous? And how can we deal with it? We will look into all these questions in this article.
Also Read: All about Ransomware Attacks in Mac
What is Grayware?
Grayware as the name suggests is a category of software which neither falls under malware nor legitimate software. It is classified as a malware but doesn’t work like one. Grayware can be referred to as potentially unwanted programs.
Potentially unwanted programs are not classified as virus as they are not destructive like virus. Yet, they are irritating, annoying and harmful. This includes, files and applications used to carry out unwanted actions, such as tracking online behavior or sending pop up messages. It affects performance of your digital devices and makes it vulnerable to security threats.
Also Read: How To Get Rid Of Malware On Mac
Common types of grayware
Adware and spyware are the most common forms of grayware. The main purpose of adware is to make money through advertisement and that of spyware is to track your online activity.
Adware may or may not collect information but will surely make your device unresponsive. It is obtrusive in nature and earns money every time you click on any online advertisements.
Spyware on the other hand is used to collect your personal and financial information. This information is shared with third party for marketing purpose and sometimes for performing malicious activity. Like adware, spyware too doesn’t ask users permission to collect data or to install any of its components. It keeps itself hidden and runs silently in the background to avoid any detection.
Both these grayware programs are installed together and work simultaneously. Spyware tracks and collects information about user’s online activity whereas, adware uses this information to show tailor made ads.
Also Read: How to remove PUP from Mac
Knowingly or unknowingly, most of us install adware or spyware either by accepting licensing terms and conditions of a free software or by clicking on a pop up window offering free virus scan, prize or software update. Grayware also gets installed if you open unknown attachments or emails. They acquire disk space, show multiple popup windows thus consuming memory and affecting system processing.
Are only Macs and PC’s Targeted by Grayware?
Initially grayware targeted computers only, but with the advent of smartphones, even they came under attack. Grayware developers keep on changing their tactics to infect any digital device with larger user base.
How to stay protected?
- Being attentive and cautious about online activity is the best line of defense against a grayware.
- Read the terms and conditions before agreeing to them.
- Uncheck boxes that reads about installing another freeware, add-ons or browser extension.
- Think before you click! Check if the permission asked by an application are necessary or not.
- Download software from official sites.
- Don’t agree to ambiguous licensing terms and conditions.
- Always use an adware blocker and an updated anti-virus software.
- Don’t click on unsolicited popup ads, emails attachments and links
- Don’t fall for ads that offer you anything for free. There is no such thing as free lunch.
We hope this article helped you understand about grayware and how it affects your machine. Grayware is truly grey in nature and has no black or white to it. Things which look very promising and tempting are the ones which are most dangerous when we talk about online attacks.
Grayware doesn’t hijack the data or seek ransom. But it aids such attacks, slows down systems performance and compromises with system security. We suggest that it is better to be proactive about your system safety and security.