What is keylogger software

What Is a Keylogger?
How it works

Despite being used for illicit activity, keyloggers do have a few positive use cases. If used for good, it can help parents monitor the computing activities of their children or used by employers to determine how their employees are making use of their computers during work periods. A keylogger may also be used to protect record passwords and other data in case of an operating system crash but there are certainly better ways to do that. In addition, keystroke logging has been recently adopted by scientists and established as a research tool on the investigation of human writing processes.

As the name suggests, the purpose of a keylogger is to log each and every keystroke from the target computer, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Unfortunately, however, the most common use of keylogger is related to malicious activity. As mentioned earlier, there are two main types of keylogging devices. There are the software version and the hardware version. When it comes to software vs hardware keyloggers it is important to understand the differences between these two types. Although the most common is the software version, one should comprehend how the hardware KL function as well.

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Unfortunately, a software keylogger is much harder to detect. There are many different categories with varying methods and techniques, but in general, we may consider the following:. It is highly unlikely that you will ever be hit by a hardware keylogger, especially in the privacy of your own home. However, it is a possibility in a public environment.

Since a hardware keylogger will usually utilize a USB port to function, your main defense would be to utilize spot checks on the USB area of the computer being used. When typing sensitive information, such as a password, you may also use your mouse to confuse the keylogger, if there is any. For instance, you type the last character of your password first and then move your cursor to type the rest. We use cookies and similar technologies to recognize your repeat visits and preferences, to measure the effectiveness of campaigns, and improve our websites. For settings and more information about cookies, view our Cookie Policy.

A keylogger is a type of spyware that secretly logs your keystrokes so thieves can get your account information, banking and credit card data, user names, passwords and other personal information. Keylogging refers to using software to record everything you type on your keyboard. The program then sends the log file to a specified server, where thieves can read any information you type , including passwords, credit card numbers, instant messages, e-mails, e-mail addresses, and website URLs.

Keyloggers are a type of activity-monitoring software that is installed on your computer without your knowledge.

keylogger (keystroke logger or system monitor)

The most common ways of doing this are through phishing, social engineering, bundling the keylogger with other software or downloads on file-sharing sites or installing it when you open an email attachment. There, the person operating the logging program can retrieve it all, no doubt sending it to third parties for criminal purposes. Keyloggers come in at least two broad flavors—hardware devices and the more familiar software variety. Unlike other kinds of malware, software keyloggers are not a threat to the systems they infect themselves.

In fact, the whole point of keyloggers is to work behind the scenes, sniffing out the keystrokes while the computer continues to operate normally. The attachments can come to you by email, through a text message, an instant message, on social networks, or even through a visit to an otherwise legitimate but infected website, which exploits a vulnerability in it and drops a drive-by malware download. Also, keyloggers rarely arrive solo. The same Trojan that delivers the keylogger can slip other malware on your system—such as adware , spyware , ransomware , or even a legacy virus.

Hardware keylogger infections occur if someone gains access to your unlocked device, which can fuel any number of scenarios. Corporate accounting department computers are another rich target. Or what if you decide to use a public computer to do some shopping? Information stolen? What now?

How do I get a keylogger for my company?

The history of the use of keyloggers for surveillance purposes dates to the early days of computers. Wikipedia details sundry uses of keyloggers in the s and early s for various purposes, including government clandestine operations. One of the most famous early incidents took place in the mids, when Soviet spies developed an amazingly clever hardware keylogger that targeted IBM Selectric typewriters in the US Embassy and Consulate buildings in Moscow and St Petersburg.

Meanwhile, Soviet embassies opted to use manual typewriters rather than electric ones for typing classified information. While various forms of keylogging have been occurring for quite some time, the boom in the creation and use of commercial keyloggers grew to significant numbers in the mid to late s with a all kinds of products quickly coming to market during that time.

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Since then, the number of commercial keyloggers available for purchase has exploded to thousands of different products with varying target audiences and in many languages. And although historically keyloggers have targeted the home user for fraud, industry and modern state-sponsored keylogging is a serious problem, in which a phishing expedition compromises a low-level employee or functionary, and then finds a way to work itself up in the organization. First the good news.

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There are no known hardware keyloggers for mobile phones. But both Androids and iPhones are still vulnerable to software keyloggers.

Keyloggers and How They Work

But you have only to search for smartphone keyloggers to see how many are available for download. Be assured that such keyloggers can capture what screens are pressed, so they see and record what virtual buttons the user touches. Screen shots of emails, texts, login pages, etc. It can even block your ability to go to particular websites—such as a software security site like ours.

Why keyloggers are a threat

Ransomware attacks: How to get the upper hand Ransomware attacks are on the rise. TapLogger: inferring user inputs on smartphone touchscreens using on-board motion sensors. This is sometimes done in an IT monitoring environment, or for studying human-computer interaction. Those entities are the primary users of keyloggers, but families, businesses, and other groups also can use them to monitor network usage without users' direct knowledge, as well. When it comes to employee monitoring as long as you are using it in a location where the laws permit this type of monitoring then it is legal.

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The app is ostensibly intended for legal monitoring use, and there are certainly legitimate reasons to install the software. Companies, for instance, could inform their employees that they’re surveilling company phones for security purposes

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