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A few decades ago, the average Joe didn’t have to worry about spies poking around their private life. Thanks to the internet, you now have to worry about spies snooping on your computer, tablet and smartphone. That’s why we’re sharing a few ways to make sure no one is spying on your computer.
Modern malware makes it easy for criminals to infiltrate your device. Tap or click here to remove malware from your computer. Troubleshooting can take a good chunk of your time, though.
That’s why you should first check for spyware on your machine. Luckily, we have a few valuable tips you can use to find out if someone is spying on your computer. Follow this simple guide to stop spies, creeps, and stalkers from monitoring you.
1. Check your apps through the Task Manager or Activity Monitor
It can be challenging to tell if someone is spying on your device. Spyware isn’t as direct as ransomware, which whips you into a frenzy so you feel forced to pay for your files back. Here are five essential steps to protect your computer from ransomware.
Spyware is subtle in comparison. It hides in your system, keeping track of everything you do. A program that spies on your computer can even hijack your webcam or microphone.
That’s why you should check your Task Manager if you’re on a PC or your Activity Monitor if you’re on a Mac. They give you an overview of all the apps running on your device. You can look over the list of apps and see which ones are slowing things down.
Checking your speed is an easy way to sniff out spyware
A sluggish computer is a dead giveaway that someone’s hitching a ride on your system. If it suddenly slows down, try to investigate the issue. Sure, maybe the slowdown is due to an innocuous reason like clutter. But you don’t want to take the risk.
Malware tends to use up a lot of resources. It’s designed to run your system dry, which means your programs can start to lag. Your computer will start working overtime to handle these unwanted programs, which means your device may begin to heat up.
PC users: Follow these steps
Check the Task Manager to see the processes your computer is running. Just hit CTRL + SHIFT + ESC to open the Processes tab. Here you’ll see how many central processing units each program uses.
You might see a program that uses almost 100% of your CPU. If you don’t recognize the name, do some research to see if it’s a legitimate app. Then, reset it. If you see performance decrease again, you just found your spyware app.
Mac users: Follow these steps
Check the Activity Monitor to see the processes your computer is running. Just hit Command + Spacebar to open Spotlight Search. Then, type Activity Monitor and press Enter. If you see an app that uses too many resources, look it up, reset it and see if your performance decreases.
Maybe you checked the Task Manager or Activity Monitor and didn’t find anything. In that case, here’s another way to make sure no one is spying on you.
RELATED: Sneaky new malware avoids detection – How to check your computer
2. Be on the lookout for programs that start randomly
Always be on the lookout for strange activities. For example, if an app launches itself out of the blue, don’t write it off. You may think, “Maybe I accidentally clicked on it?” or “It could be a bug.” Don’t give any strange behavior the benefit of the doubt. Take it as a warning sign.
Let’s say you forbid all apps from opening upon startup. If a window briefly appears before flicking out of existence, that’s a sign that a spyware program is loading itself. They’re designed to disappear so you don’t notice them — but since they need to load, they might accidentally show themselves in this way.
That’s why heading to Task Manager on a PC or Login Items on a Mac is helpful. They let you look over every app on your computer. Think of these programs as ingredient lists on the side of a food package. You can root out the bad stuff for your health or, rather, your computer’s health.
Here’s how to change startup apps on a PC:
- Click the Start menu.
- Select Settings (cog icon) and click Apps.
- In the left menu, click Startup. It should be the last option.
The Startup panel displays all the apps installed on your machine. If Windows has measured the impact of that app on your PC, you will see a rating next to it. Options include No impact, Low impact, Medium impact, and High impact.
An app with a high impact can slow down your startup time. Go through the list and determine which apps you don’t need immediately after startup. Toggle each slider next to the app to turn it on or off.
Here’s how to change startup apps on a Mac:
- Click on the Apple menu and navigate to System Preferences.
- Click Users & Groups.
- Select your User Account, then click Login Items on the top right.
Here you’ll see a list of the applications that open automatically when you log in.
To prevent an app from running automatically, click Remove a login item. Then select the app’s name that you want to block and click on the Remove button below the list.
You can use the checkbox to hide items you still would like to launch. To add a new item, hit the plus symbol under the list and find it on your computer.
Here are a few other ways to identify unwanted programs.
3. Update your devices regularly
Another good way to ensure no one is spying on you is to keep your computers updated. We get it: Constantly updating them can be a drag. But it’s worth it for the sake of longevity.
If you want your computers to last, you need to ensure they’re safe. And the easiest way to protect them is by taking advantage of the ever-evolving security tools that come out for free updates.
Cybersecurity experts are always keeping their ears to the ground. They know about the latest hacks, exploits and more. Thus, they’re always working hard to fix these issues.
They release these fixes in updates, so you’re missing out on essential protection if you don’t upgrade your system. Tap or click here for a few emergency updates that anyone with Apple devices should know about.
To update your Mac:
Click the Apple icon from the menu bar at the top of the screen and click System Preferences > Software Update.
To update your PC:
Click the Start Menu and open Settings, click Update & Security, then click Windows Update. From there, you’ll be able to see if updates are available for download. If an update is available, click Download and Install. If you don’t see an available update, click Check for Updates to force the process.