What is Grayware and types
Grayware is the name of programs that are potentially dangerous, this type of program is usually located in an intermediate place between harmful software (malware) and harmless. Malware is always specifically designed to cause damage to a device, but in the case of grayware, it is not always designed to cause damage and can be completely harmless. This type of software can range from completely benign to potentially dangerous, however, this type of software is not as harmful as the general malware programs that we all know.
Unlike malware, this type of software can be completely legal in certain scenarios, but we must bear in mind that this type of program can perfectly interrupt the proper functioning of the local network or the computer systems of any company. It is possible that if we perform an anti-malware scan on our computer, it will detect this type of software as malware because it can be potentially dangerous, in fact, sometimes it is not marked as malware but it is marked as “potentially dangerous” and it is recommended We strongly recommend that it be completely removed from our system, in order to avoid future security and privacy problems.
Currently there are several different types of grayware, specifically oriented to a particular task. Next, you have all the details.
Spyware or spyware
Spyware is a very common type of software that allows an attacker to spy on a person or group of people. This type of software is specifically designed to track any activity carried out on the computer, be it web browsing, use of different programs and even being able to collect private information without the consent of the end user. This stolen private information can be used for blackmail or simply added to a database with private data and sold on the dark web.
This spyware is usually installed on legitimate programs that need advertising to earn money. Although on many occasions it will notify us in the installation wizard, surely the end user has clicked on “next” without reading or looking at anything, and will have installed it giving their consent, but without knowing it at all. Generally, this type of grayware is detected by the anti-malware or anti-spyware software that we have installed, however, it is possible that on some occasions it is undetectable, so we must be very careful when we install any program on our PC.
Advertising or adware
Adware is another type of grayware, this type of software is not malicious like malware in general, but it is very annoying. This type of grayware consists of aggressively using pop-up windows on our computer, it could also cause the web browser to open automatically and take us to a website that is advertising. The objective of adware is to advertise a company or service, with greater or lesser success, however, these types of ads are usually quite dangerous, because they could take us to websites that infect our device with malware in general.
Depending on the type of advertising that has been installed, it is possible that they use our IP address and the activity of the web browser to adapt the ads to our preferences, however, generally this is not the case, but it will open random advertising or the one that we have configured. Adware is usually installed on our computer when we download programs from unofficial sites, with the aim of monetizing that software download service.
Advertising on mobile or madware
Madware is the adware on our smartphone or tablet, it is specifically aimed at this type of device. Just like regular adware, it uses advertisements to monetize the previously provided service. Generally, madware is much more annoying than on a computer, because with madware we could get notifications telling us that our smartphone is infected and that it is advisable to install a specific antivirus or antimalware, which could just be malware for our smartphone and even a banking Trojan to steal our bank access credentials.
This type of grayware is generally focused on devices with the Android operating system, it is very rare to find this on iOS devices, however, it can also exist, so you should take extreme precautions. If you see any pop-up ads on your mobile, you probably have madware installed or have activated Chrome notifications from a site that could be malicious.
Now that you know what grayware is and the types that exist, we are going to teach you how to protect ourselves from it to keep our devices safe.
How to protect ourselves from grayware
Although grayware does not pose a direct risk as malware does, the truth is that this type of software can invade our privacy by stealing data, bother us a lot while we use the computer due to adware, and even bother us while we use the smartphone if we are infected by malware. Our recommendation is that you treat grayware like malware: remove it as soon as possible.
If you want to be protected against this type of software, you should take the following precautions to prevent the installation or infection of our PC:
- Do not download software outside the official website.
- Take a good look at the step-by-step installation wizard to avoid installing spyware or adware.
- Do not use any type of crack or keygen, because they could have spyware incorporated and even malware directly that infects our computer.
If you have already been affected by grayware, then you will need to remove the installation or infection as follows:
- Perform a full scan with your usual antivirus. If you use Windows 10 or Windows 11 you should know that their antivirus works really well, so it is likely that it will detect certain grayware directly as potentially dangerous software.
- Download MalwareBytes Anti-Malware from the official website, install the software and run a full scan of your computer. This software is one of the best software that you can use to perform on-demand scans, and even to be continuously up and running as well.
- Download other anti-spyware software to make sure our PC is clean, some highly recommended ones are SUPERAntiSpyware, Adaware Antivirus and also the free versions of the most popular antiviruses.
Finally, once we have cleaned the grayware, we must verify that we have completely eliminated it, using the device in a normal way and verify that we do not get pop-up windows.
Although at first the grayware may not seem dangerous, if our device is infected you won’t like the consequences. In the case of having spyware installed, as its name suggests, they could spy on our communications or what we do with our computer, in addition, they could also steal personal data to later sell it. In the case of adware and madware, it is more annoying than dangerous, since pop-up windows with targeted or non-targeted advertising will continually appear, which could take us to websites that are dangerous and could infect us with malware, so We should also be very careful and protect ourselves.
In our opinion, all grayware should be treated as if it were a little harmful malware, but we should remove it from our computer, smartphone and tablet as soon as possible, in order to be protected against spyware and not be annoying to use our devices.