What if someone is able to see whatever you write on your computer? A specific kind of malware, known as a keylogger, allows hackers to do this easily. By definition, Keylogging is the activity of capturing or recording the keys struck on a keyboard so that user actions could be monitored without them knowing.
So every word typed, even the ones deleted subsequently, ever message or mail sent, every tweet, every URL typed, or every social media caption updated, can be retrieved by the person operating the logger.
They do not affect the system by slowing it down or generating any noticeable changes. What is the solution then? To prevent keyloggers from spying on what you write, you need Anti-spyware software.
They remove Spywares that have been already installed and provide real-time protection by preventing them from being downloaded in the first place. You can also find them bundled with some modern-day security suites too.
Different Uses of Keyloggers
Keyloggers, being a very common piece of technology, aren’t always used for malicious purposes. Some semi-legitimate uses of them nowadays are:
- Used by employers to monitor the task of their workers
- Used by governments to keep an eye on terrorist and criminal activities
- Used by system programs like Microsoft to track usage metrics
- Used by couples to check on their partners
But all of these semi-legitimate uses do have their own downside associated. Workers could be spied for blowing a whistle on unfair practices of their masters. Over dominant or abusive partners could use this as a tool to harass their partners.
Governments could use this power to manipulate the masses. Big techies could use keyloggers in ways that could hamper every aspect of life.
But they are not anything like ransomware. They are not any illegal or unregulated software, and one can even purchase them online since there are other plentiful uses of them too. Also, no antivirus software is going to detect them as any felonious program.
How to Detect and Prevent Them?
Keyloggers infect in the same way as any other virus does – either by clicking on a link sent by someone or mistakenly visiting any wrong website. It may also come along with any seemingly rightful software download. Additionally, you might get infected by inserting some USB or other external drive.
These are very hard to detect once they get inside; after all, they are tiny and lightweight programs. While some of them disguise as regular browser extensions, others may hide deep inside the computer.
To get undetected by much AntiVirus software, they sometimes hide inside the system’s firmware, because the computer’s firmware is outside of the regular operating system.
To remove them from your computer, the best way is to look at what’s there currently running on it. By opening the Task Manager either with the combination of ctrl + alt + delete or right-clicking the taskbar and selecting Task Manager option, one has to carefully go through the list of programs there and look for any unrecognizable operations.
Then by googling the name of those, if anyone turns out to be a known keylogger, then you’ll be able to find instructions to remove them.
Moreover, some keyloggers may hide from the Task Manager too, but they must persist on the system by starting during booting of the operating system. The “Startup” tab in the Task Manager helps in this condition.
It has a list of all the programs which start at the same time as the operating system. So the method mentioned above can be used here for anything you don’t remember installing by yourself.
The browser can be cleaned from any malicious extensions by navigating to the Chrome extensions in the URL bar. Check the list of all the extensions there and delete the malevolent add-ons.
Building a Defense Against Them
Since their detection may be difficult, its best to secure yourself first. Some methods to improve your security and preserve your essential and confidential data are:
To restrain keyloggers from affecting your day-to-day digital uses, you should maintain a sound defense system along with following some easy steps to prevent them as well. For this, there are many software applications available to get you an edge.
Some top-rated antivirus programs are out there that do this job and protect against the threat of keyloggers as well as other malware, like Norton and Bitdefender. But dedicated anti-spyware software is the best to serve the purpose of protection against keyloggers.