Malware comes in different forms. While you might be familiar with viruses and trojans, a lesser-known form is screen-scraping malware. Also known simply as a screen scraper, it shares many of the same characteristics as keyloggers. If your computer is infected with screen-scraping malware, a hacker could potentially see the images displayed by your monitor.

Overview of Screen-Scraping Malware

Screen-scraping malware includes any type of malicious software that’s designed to capture the text and/or images displayed on a victim’s monitor or device screen. When left unchecked, it can cause data breaches. Hackers deploy screen-scraping malware so that they can steal data from unsuspecting victims.

Of course, screen scraping has legitimate uses. There’s screen-scraping software — not malware — that’s used to copy text and/or images on device screens. Screen-scraping malware is distinguished from legitimate screen-scraping software by its intent. Like with other forms of malware, screen-scraping malware has malicious intentions. Legitimate screen-scraping software, on the other hand, doesn’t have malicious intentions.

How Screen-Scraping Malware Works

If you unknowingly download screen-scraping malware onto your computer, you may inadvertently reveal sensitive data to the hacker who’s behind the attack.

Screen-scraping software works in a similar way as a keylogger. While keyloggers capture keystrokes, though, screen-scraping malware captures text and/or images on device screens. Whether you’re typing an email or entering your password in a login form, the screen-scraping malware will capture it. It will then send this captured text to the hacker who’s responsible for the screen-scraping malware.

Ways to Prevent Screen-Scraping Malware

Because it’s a form of malware, screen-scraping malware isn’t immune to antivirus software. Antivirus software can catch and remove screen-scraping malware so that it doesn’t lead to a data breach or other problems. With antivirus software, you can rest assured knowing that your computer will be protected from most forms of malware, including screen-scraping malware.

Another tip to prevent screen-scraping malware is to choose secure login forms. Login forms are commonly found on websites. You’ll have to enter your username and password to log in to your online account. While some login forms are secure, though, others are not secure.

You should avoid using unsecured login forms. Unsecure login forms are those that feature the HTTP protocol. Instead, choose secure login forms that feature the HTTPS protocol. The HTTPS protocol is powered by a cryptographic algorithm that will encrypt your data. Along with antivirus software, choosing secure login forms can protect you from screen-scraping malware.