What is a Keylogger?

WHAT IS A KEYLOGGER?

 

There are two types of Keylogger, software and hardware based. These in general are used for good purposes, parents keeping a record of their childens online activities, or a suspicious spouse might install software keylogger to keep tabs on a partner, computer fraud investigations, prevent unacceptable use of company resources and for detecting unauthorised access.

 

How keyloggers spread

 

Excluding keyloggers that are purchased and installed by a jealous partner or spouse, and those installed for security reasons and by businesses, keyloggers are spread in basically the same way as other malicious programs. Some of the most common ways are:

 

  • A keylogger can be installed when a user clicks on a link to open a file attached in an email.
  • Another way a keylogger can be installed is through a web page script which has exploited browser vulnerability; as soon as you visit the infected site the program will be automatically launched to infect your system.
  • Using peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, this can lead to downloading infected files.
  • Installed by another malicious program already present on the victim machine, if the program is capable of downloading and installing other malware to the system.
  • Keep Windows Operating System (OS) and Microsoft Office up-to-date.
  • Make sure that you keep your antivirus (AV) or internet security software updated. Do not surf the web without any security software installed.
  • Learn to recognise phishing emails and delete them.
  • Do not click on links in unsolicited or dubious emails that may point to dodgy sites that are hosting malware.
  • Do not use peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, this can lead to downloading infected files.
  • Try installing another browser like Firefox or Chrome which are much safer.

 

 

Recording your every step

 

According to experts, keyloggers (also known as keystroke loggers) pose more risk to PC users than any other tool used for committing cybercrime, and they can be used to spy on anyone. Any legitimate keylogging program can be used for malicious or criminal intent and if used for this purpose are mainly used to steal user data relating to various online payment systems, and virus writers are constantly writing new keylogger Trojans for this very purpose.

 

Sneaking in - Sneaking out!

 

A point to remember is that keyloggers can be either software programs or hardware devices. In most cases cybercriminals use software based programs. These small programs monitor each keystroke you type on the keyboard, they can even recognise typos, retyping and backspacing.

 

Keyloggers covertly record, and even watch everything you type in order to collect your log-in names, passwords, PINs and other sensitive information, logging everything, it is collected to a file and then sent on to the remote attackers without you even knowing.

 

Keyloggers are becoming more sophisticated. Some have been found to track websites visited by the user and only log the keystrokes entered on the website of particular interest. Others can capture screenshots which means that if you use visual cues to choose letters or numbers on the website with your mouse, instead of typing, it can still be captured with a screenshot.

 

These small software programs are no threat to the system itself, but they do pose a serious threat to user’s confidential information.

 

How to stop keyloggers

 

To protect yourself against keyloggers, follow these simple tips:

 

 

  • Keep Windows Operating System (OS) and Microsoft Office up-to-date.
  • Make sure that you keep your antivirus (AV) or internet security software updated. Do not surf the web without any security software installed.
  • Learn to recognise phishing emails and delete them.
  • Do not click on links in unsolicited or dubious emails that may point to dodgy sites that are hosting malware.
  • Do not use peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, this can lead to downloading infected files.
  • Try installing another browser like Firefox or Chrome which are much safer.

 

 

Create a new, safer User Account

 

Your computers default User Account setting probably is set to "administrator" mode. This means that nearly anyone can install something on your computer by sending it surreptitiously. Changing the setting to "limited user" mode for everyday tasks will significantly protect your computer from keyloggers.

 

Of course, your computer will still have an "administrator" account. Use it when you need to install something, but then be sure to switch back to "limited" at other times. Make that your habit, and you are much safer.

 

Be vigilant and safe.

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