Malicious software

Learn what spyware, trojans and viruses are. And, find out how to avoid them

Not all software is friendly

It's important to know about the different types of software that's out there. Here you can learn more about the types that aren't so safe, including spyware, trojans and viruses.


Spyware is software that secretly eavesdrops on infected machines, reporting everything back to the fraudster.

For example, a keystroke logger reads the keystrokes you enter on your keyboard, to capture passwords and private information.

Spyware can get on your system through emails, infected websites, over your network or through portable hard drives (and other storage devices) attached to your computer

Always be careful with what you open, install or attach to your device


Viruses are similar to spyware and will often result in harm to your system or information being provided to fraudsters. 

To install viruses or similar intrusive software on your system, fraudsters will typically try to trick you into following a link from an email to a malicious web site, or you may visit a genuine web site that has been compromised where vulnerabilities in your web browser could be exploited to install the virus.

To attract your interest and disarm any suspicions you may normally have towards unsolicited emails, these emails may appear to contain a seemingly harmless subject such as a joke or greetings card.

By following the link, you may allow your computer or system to be infected with a destructive virus or similar software that could:

Corrupt or incapacitate your computer

Read the keystrokes on your computer to identify passwords you use

Monitor other activity and report back to the fraudster

Redirecting your attempt to visit a genuine internet site to a scam site set up by a fraudster – known as ‘pharming’


A trojan is a form of computer virus. They are often installed silently, without you ever knowing.

Fraudsters may ask you to follow a link from an email to a malicious website or you might visit a genuine website that's been compromised.

Here, fraudsters can use vulnerabilities in your web browser to install a virus or other malicious software.

Tips to stay safe

Read our fraud guides

Covering a wide range of security topics

Our fraud guides can help you understand what different types of fraud and security risks are and how to protect yourself

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Protect your systems

With anti-viruses, device settings and best practice

There's a range of software to help protect your systems, along with best practice and ways you can set them up to keep you safer. Take time to research options and understand system settings.

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Report fraud ASAP

Whether it's a transaction or suspicious activity

To try and stop any fraudulent activity and help make sure we protect you as much as we can, tell us about fraud, scams or suspicious activity as soon as you know about it.

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