Spyware and Removal

Malicious software (malware), is an application that gathers information about users without their knowledge. Such applications are most often downloaded onto a computer when users are visiting websites or downloading software. The primary function of these applications is to collect personal information stored on your computer.

How Malware works

A pop-up unexpected message may appear on your computer. The message may ask for your email address and password, or other personal information. If you enter this information, malware may install itself on your personal computer. The malware can monitor your keystrokes, scan through the files on your hard drive, read cookies or open applications and transfer information over the Internet to an unknown third party.

Malware uses the memory and resources (like your bandwidth to access the Internet) on your computer to function, collect data and relay information over the Internet. This results in a loss of system stability on your computer. If you have malware on your computer, you may experience the following:

  • The system performance may be affected which will slow down your computer
  • Your computer may crash or freeze
  • You may also have difficulty accessing the Internet
  • Your Internet browser will have changes to its toolbars and could be re-directing your site choices

A typical malware scam

Keep your eyes open for any unexpected or suspicious looking pop-up screens that appear during your online banking session.


  • CIBC will never ask you for your personal email address or password
  • To make it harder for hackers to access your account, use a different password for Online Banking than you use for your personal email
  • CIBC verification codes are for your use only, they should not be shared

Example of a malware scam

Malware vs. adware

Adware and malware are similar in that they both intrude on the privacy of individuals by installing themselves on users' computers without users' knowledge, usually via downloads or viruses. Adware displays advertising messages or banners to the user, but also secretly gathers information about their use of websites and relays it back to the program's originator, usually for advertising purposes.

Malware, on the other hand, may not be visible at all but will run in the background recording keystrokes and relaying this information to another computer. It may become visible, however, in the form of pop-ups or other changes in the usual function of users' applications. As an example, suppose you enter your banking credentials into a sign-on page and receive an unexpected pop-up screen, which says there was an authentication failure and demands further personal information. In this example, the spyware is trying to lure you into providing further information that it can store and relay to another computer.

Save your card number

The saved card feature, found on the sign on page for CIBC Online Banking, allows you to save your card numbers using an encrypted cookie that is stored only on your own personal computer. This information, once saved on your computer, is automatically generated each time you sign in to CIBC Online Banking.

Malware that monitors keystrokes cannot identify your card number using this feature because you will not be required to type in the number each time you login.

Malware removal tools

To protect your computer's security, you should be using a firewall, and an up-to-date anti-virus program. If you do not have an anti-virus program, a discounted version of Norton Internet Security is available at https://www.cibc.com/ca/legal/symantec.html.