spy·​ware ˈspī-ˌwer How to pronounce spyware (audio)
: software that is installed in a computer or mobile device without the user's knowledge and that transmits information about the user's activities
Jan should scan her computer for viruses, worms, and spywareKenneth Baldauf and Ralph Stair
Smartphones belonging to more than three dozen journalists, human rights activists, and business executives have been infected with powerful spyware that an Israeli firm sells, purportedly to catch terrorists and criminals, The Washington Post and other publications reported.Dan Goodin

Examples of spyware in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Estimating that over 90% of the population there has access to high-speed internet, al-Sharif claims that this comes with high surveillance, and spyware and AI can put women's rights activists' safety and freedom of speech at risk. Alicia Vrajlal, refinery29.com, 21 Aug. 2023 What's important about it and about focusing on the threat of spyware? Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, 24 Aug. 2023 The infection technique used in Triangulation is similar to that used by NSO and other vendors of high-end spyware. Joseph Menn, Washington Post, 21 June 2023 An analysis Talos published on Thursday provides the most detailed look yet at Predator, a piece of advanced spyware that can be used against Android and iOS mobile devices. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 26 May 2023 When consumers call the phone number, scammers may ask for remote access to the computer to install spyware programs and gain personal information. USA TODAY, 23 Aug. 2023 One piece of evidence, repeatedly cited to corroborate the claim that TikTok is de facto spyware, is China’s National Intelligence Law. WIRED, 9 Aug. 2023 Huawei’s equipment has previously been scrutinized by the U.S. for being used as spyware by the Chinese government, but the company has rejected such claims. Prarthana Prakash, Fortune, 7 Aug. 2023 The administration of Nayib Bukele has denied using spyware to monitor journalists. Chris Kenning, USA TODAY, 27 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spyware.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1994, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of spyware was in 1994

Dictionary Entries Near spyware

Cite this Entry

“Spyware.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spyware. Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

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