What is a keylogger?
The most basic definition of a keylogger also called keystroke logger or system monitor is a type of surveillance which is used to monitor and record the keystroke typed on a user’s computer.
It is mostly used by the cybercriminals to steal social media passwords, bank details or sensitive enterprise data, which is completely illegal.
The legal uses of keyloggers include parents trying to monitor their children’s online activities, employers supervising the employees.
Different types of Keyloggers
1.) Hardware Keyloggers– The hardware keyloggers are plugged into the wire of the keyboard to record every keystroke typed by the user. The hardware keyloggers are the least used keyloggers because nowadays most wireless keyboards are available. It doesn’t need any software for installation.
2.) Software Keyloggers– This type of keyloggers are the most common type
of keyloggers used. They are installed on the target computer by other malicious programs such as trojan or viruses. There are various types of keyloggers depending on their functionality such as form grabbing where the keylogger records all the data a user puts in. The other type is the one which accesses the log files saved by the computer.
How do keyloggers work?
A keylogger software works anonymously in the background recording each and every keystroke made by the user. This includes entries made in the chats, passwords, usernames, emails and search queries. Then this information is sent back to the server or the email address of the hacker.
How do keyloggers get installed?
The most common example is when we visit any torrent site and click download button another site is opened in a new tab (which has irrelevant content).
2.) It can also be installed when a user clicks on an attachment or links from an unknown email.
3.) Ads on torrent or porn sites are the most common way to fall into the trap of cybercriminals.
The cybercriminals will post an ad like a free membership coupon of a porn site and when a user clicks on it a pop-up will open and in the background, it will start downloading a keylogger without our permission.
Hence it is very important to use a keylogger protection tool which will protect your pc from any harmful keyloggers (tools mentioned below).
How to protect your computer against keyloggers?
Since keyloggers can be installed in a user’s computer in a variety of the way, there are certain measures to be taken to stay secure from keyloggers.
1.) Use Antivirus
This is a by default software which everyone should have. Buying a full version of antivirus from official website helps in keeping user’s computer safe by providing browser protection, email protection, computer protection, etc.
2.) Use a virtual machine
A virtual machine is a software program which runs an operating system and
other applications. With the help of a virtual machine, a user can install certain softwares to separate them from the real OS and look for any keylogger threat.
3.) Using the on-screen keyboard to type sensitive information
One of the limitations of keylogger can be exploited by using an on-screen keyboard. The keyloggers can’t capture the clicks made on an on-screen keyboard.
To access the on-screen keyboard in Windows 10 go to Start and type On-screen keyboard.
4.) Never trust your friend
We all have exchanged our pen drives with our friends at least once in our lifetime to either share movies, games, videos etc.
But when you lug in the USB drive in the pc make sure you scan the pen drive before opening it.
It could be loaded with keyloggers intentionally or unintentionally by your friend.
5.) Never open an email from an unknown sender
Sometimes malicious emails get passed the security check of the antivirus but it happens very less.
A lot of times we get promotional emails from unknown sender offering us a discount or deals by purchasing products from their website, but in the fact, it is just a shady link with a keylogger ready to attack your computer.
So do not click on this type of emails and straight away block these emails.
6.) Enable Two Factor Authentication
Two-step verification has an edge over one step verification as it sends you a verification code through the message on your mobile phone.
Even if your computer is infected by a keylogger it can’t detect the 2-factor verification code.
7.) Always change your password on a regular basis
If you get an email or message that someone from some location logged into your one of the social media accounts straight away change the password with other computer or mobile phone.
8.) Enable Firewall
The passwords in the keylogger software need to transmit the data back to the cybercriminal via the internet.
As the internet passes through a security check of the firewall, if the firewall sees something shady it will terminate the process.
9.) Install best anti keyloggers beforehand
An anti-keylogger is software that stops a keylogger from installing in the first place. Keyloggers can be detected by their signatures and can be stopped from installing automatically.
So here is the list of 2 of the best free keylogger protection tools which will help protect your computer from keyloggers.
1.) Zemana Antilogger – It offers financial malware protection. It can detect and clean various browser’s add-ons. It offers real-time protection for fast and efficient malware scanning. It also has an android anti keyloggers. It is one of the best keylogger protection tool in the market.
2.) SpyShelter – It has a simple UI with fast processing ability without hindering the system’s performance. It can detect and stop most harmful malware. It also offers clipboard, webcam and screen protection.
Also Read: How to Shutdown Windows 10 PC in worst case scenarios
How to check for keyloggers on your pc?
When keyloggers install themselves automatically they run in the background
trying to collect the information, use memory and use battery power (if you are on the laptop).
So they leave behind some traces which helps us to catch them.
So here are # steps to check for keyloggers on your pc.
Press Windows + R and type “cmd” (without quote) to open command prompt.
Type “netstat -ano” (w/o quote) and hit Enter.
Now 5 column data will be displayed. Our interest lies in the last 2 columns i.e. State and PID.
Now look for a state with “ESTABLISHED” written under it. Write down the PID no. and open Control Panel. Click on Details tab.
Now search for all the PID nos. and note down the corresponding software name. If you don’t know the software pointing towards PID no. then google it and you will come to know if it is a keylogger or any other software.
Click on Start –> Control Panel –> Uninstall a program.
Now take a close look at all the installed programs and check if there is any program which is not installed by you. And if you find any then straight away right click on it and Uninstall.
Install best anti keyloggers softwares beforehand (mentioned above) and through this, you can also remove keyloggers very easily.
Can Android and iPhones get keyloggers?
Is using keyloggers illegal?
If you are using it spy on other people’s personal accounts such as social media or bank accounts then it is illegal.
But if you are a parent who wants to monitor what their kid is doing online then t is legal.
Does on-screen keyboard stop keyloggers?
Can Macs get keyloggers?
Can keyloggers detect copy paste?
Can a keylogger be installed on a router?