What is a Keylogger and How to Prevent its Infection

A keylogger may be defined as a software or hardware device that keeps logging every key that you press on your keyboard. It is capable of capturing all passwords, personal messages, numbers of credit cards as also everything that you happen to type. Now that’s dangerous pertaining to the keystroke capturing. Keyloggers generally get installed by malware. These can be installed also by jealous and suspicious spouses, protective parents or even employers wanting to monitor the activities of their employees. Corporate espionage is known to make wide use of hardware keyloggers as well.

What is a Keylogger and How to Prevent its Infection

What is a Keylogger and How to Prevent its Infection

How do Keyloggers get into your Computer?

On any average computer, most keyloggers arrive in the form of malware. If the computer gets compromised, the malware usually includes a function or keylogger, say, a Trojan that will download the keylogger as also other dangerous and harmful software. The popularity of keyloggers unfortunately keeps growing because they easily allow criminals to illegally pilfer numbers of credit cards, passwords as also other sensitive and confidential data.

Software for keystroke-logging is also installable by someone within an organization. Protective parents usually install keylogger software to monitor everything their children type. The same applies to a suspicious spouse when he/she is concerned about his/her partner cheating. There are however, laws that regulate whether this act is legal or illegal, depending on the extent of the keylogging and the jurisdiction.

Hardware Keyloggers

Some keyloggers may be implemented as hardware devices entirely. The typical desktop comes with a keyboard connecting to the computer’s back by way of a USB cable.

If someone unplugs the USB cable of the keyboard and attaches a special USB device between the desktop’s USB port and the USB connector of the keyboard, the device starts functioning as the keylogger. As a middleman, it intercepts all keyboard signals, stores them on the device and subsequently passes all keystrokes to the computer, making everything appear normal.

It is impossible for the computer’s security software to detect the keylogger, as it’s running in hardware entirely. Moreover, if the computer is hidden under a desk, the device would go unnoticed totally. If the recording device is quietly removed, there would be no trace of any suspicious network activity or keylogging software.

If hardware keyloggers are your major concern, keep checking your computer’s back to ensure that there are no suspicious looking or foreign devices plugged between the computer and the  keyboard cable. The keylogger looks more like an adapter and is easily identifiable.

How do Keyloggers Function?

Keystroke logging software is like a backroom boy who tracks every keystroke typed. The software scans through a file for certain text types. For instance, it could look for numbers sequences resembling numbers of credit cards, uploading them to the malicious server for abusive use later. Keylogging software can be combined also with other computer-monitoring software to take note of what was typed when a bank’s website was visited in order to steal your password.

It’s also possible to scan the full log history to check what you surf for and type online. Certain computer-monitoring software also often combine a screenshot program to capture screenshots of what showed on the computer screen at a particular time.

Preventing the Infection

Keystroke logging software is basically malware in a different form. Thus, keylogging software can be avoided in the same way as other malware are avoided. Taking care of what you are downloading and running and using a dependable and solid antivirus program that prevents keyloggers from getting into the fray are strongly advised. Basic practices for computer security keeps the keylogger infection at bay.

  • When surfing bank websites, use the screen keyboard to type in your user ID and password rather than using the computer’s keyboard. However, this again is not an absolutely foolproof method as there are many keyloggers monitoring multiple text input forms also. For extra security, always use VPN when banking online.
  • Use anti-virus: Install a strong anti-virus program, particularly when making use of Torrent to download software or video games. Don’t download anything suspicious from unknown developers of software. Install those things only that are required and use a web based software alternative that doesn’t need to be installed on the computer. Here is a list of the most popular anti-virus programs in 2017.
  • Use virtual machines: Programs such as vmware and virtual box allow the running of multiple operating systems on one pc simultaneously. You install all that is safe in the computer’s main operating system while installing everything that a keylogger might access in the virtual machine.
  • Linux: Officially acknowledged and accepted as one of the best protective methods against spyware, keyloggers, and viruses! Usually windows keyloggers or macs offer multiple options and Ubuntu is a poignant choice. The disadvantage however, is that Linux is often incompatible with software running on mac and windows as also popular games. But both Virtual box and Vmware work on Ubuntu. This implies that you may run a Windows virtual machine under Ubuntu.

Final Thoughts

Keyloggers are indeed a worrisome concept. They encroach on your privacy and may get you into serious trouble should your personal information fall into the wrong hands. Take preventive measures to ensure that no one invades your computer illegally and takes undue advantage of your ignorance or innocence about such matters.

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