Emil Sköld
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What Does Keylogger Mean?

What Does Keylogger Mean?

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Emil Sköld
·Jun 22, 2022·

19 min read

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Emil Sköld

What Does Keylogger Mean?

What exactly is a Keylogger?

A keylogger is a piece of software that logs the keys you press on a keyboard. When you write passwords, credit card numbers, personal communications, and other sensitive information on a compromised computer's keyboard, the information may be recorded and recovered by a cybercriminal. A keylogger captures information by positioning itself between the keyboard (or other input device) and the computer's operating system. Typically, it is designed to work covertly to prevent detection.

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Keylogging software may sound unsettling and unethical from a privacy standpoint, but it is not intrinsically evil. It has a number of legitimate applications. For instance, concerned parents can watch their children's online activities by using surveillance software that contains a keylogger. Likewise, huge firms and businesses use keyloggers to monitor staff for unethical conduct.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, hackers can employ keyloggers for a variety of malicious purposes. By obtaining your password, hackers can lock you out of your banking and email accounts. They can exploit your information to extort you and take your money. As part of scams involving identity theft, they can fool your friends, coworkers, and family members.

What Types or Examples of Keyloggers Exist?

Some of the free keyloggers include KidLogger, Revealer Keylogger and Spyrix Keylogger. These applications have varied features, including the ability to take random screenshots, record audio output, send keystroke recordings to a defined email address, and monitor other running applications and visited websites. Many software keyloggers operate covertly, never appearing in the Task Manager's list of running programs.

Although software keyloggers predominate, hardware keyloggers are also available. They have similar features to their software equivalents, but require physical access to the computer in order to capture and record keystrokes. Every hardware-based keylogger has a microcontroller that is specialized to capturing and decoding keyboard-to-computer signals. The recorded information is subsequently converted into human-readable data and stored in a nonvolatile memory. Hardware keyloggers are readily available; some may be purchased on Amazon for as little as $54.

The keyloggers listed above are commercial examples. You may purchase and use them without repercussions if your aim and goal are legal and ethical. On the other hand, some individuals disregard what is right and commit crimes out of self-interest. In 2006, 55 Brazilians were imprisoned for distributing keyloggers on several computers and stealing $4.7 million as a result. In 2011, in Manchester, England, keylogging gear was discovered linked to the keyboards of public library computers. In March 2016, a similar occurrence occurred at Concordia University.

How does a Keylogger Gain Access to Your Typed Information?

Before they may monitor the activity on a computer, parents and IT administrators must obviously install keylogging software for lawful purposes. In order to push keyloggers into computers, however, hackers and cybercriminals must adopt illicit means.

For example, hackers might transmit keyloggers via peer-to-peer networks or as an attachment to phishing emails. Anyone who opens the file falls victim to the virus. Utilizing browser and operating system weaknesses, hackers can infiltrate obsolete computers. Essentially, the same methods that hackers use to distribute other malicious software can also be used to distribute keyloggers.

Typically, a hardware keylogger is a USB device with two ports. One of the connectors must be plugged into the keyboard and the other into the computer. In other words, the hardware keylogger is positioned between the keyboard and computer in order to intercept keyboard data being transmitted to the computer.

Keyloggers can slip other malware on your system, such as adware, spyware, ransomware, or a virus. Both Androids and iPhones are vulnerable to software keyloggers.

Hackers and identity thieves use keyloggers to acquire people's personal information. In the hands of a malicious user, a keylogger can cause serious damage. Keyloggers are commonly spread online via phishing scams, Trojan viruses, and fake websites. Malicious actors can also use them to capture your personal and financial information. They record every keyboard interaction a user has, allowing a third party to see a complete log of every email, instant message or password.

It's Important to Understand What a Keylogger Is, How to Spot One, How to Prevent Keylogging Malware, and How to Secure Your Personal Information.

By Logging in With a Password Manager, You Don't Display Your Passwords or Physically Type Them, so Keystroke Monitors Can't Capture Them.

Consider Voice to Text Conversion Software Similar to a Virtual Keyboard, Voice to Text Conversion Software Can Circumvent Forms of Keylogging That Specifically Target Your Physical Keyboard.

Your Basic Protection Against Keyloggers Comes From Your Antivirus.

What Does the Term Keylogger Mean? What exactly is a Keylogger? | Keylogger Detection | Malwarebytes Keylogger

Keyloggers record anything you type on your computer in secret. Keyloggers are used by both companies and cybercriminals to monitor personnel.

Additionally for Mac, iOS, and Android, and For Business

What is a keystroke log?

Keyloggers are a particularly devious form of malware that may record and steal the user's consecutive keystrokes (and much more) on a device. The name "keylogger" or "keystroke logger" is self-explanatory: it refers to software that records what you enter on your keyboard. However, keyloggers can also allow cybercriminals to eavesdrop on you, view you through your system camera, or listen through the microphone on your smartphone.

Is a keylogger a virus?

Although keyloggers function in the context of malware for our purposes, it is not always unlawful to install and use them. Keyloggers are a widespread tool used by corporate IT teams to diagnose technical issues on their systems and networks or to surreptitiously monitor personnel. The same is true for parents who wish to observe their children's activities. Keyloggers also target suspicious spouses as a market.

If the business or individual downloading and installing the keylogger genuinely owns the device, it is absolutely legal in all such circumstances. In addition, there are thousands of commercially accessible keyloggers that promote themselves for such a purpose on the Internet.

However, keyloggers pose a risk when hostile actors are behind them. Moreover, they do not possess the equipment they infect. Depending on the type of keylogger that has infiltrated your computer, it can steal any passwords you've entered, take periodic screen shots, record the web pages you view, intercept your sent emails and instant messaging sessions, as well as sensitive financial information (such as credit card numbers, PIN codes, and bank accounts), and then transmit all of this information over the network to a remote computer or web server. There, the individual controlling the logging program can access the information and even distribute it to criminal third parties.

Hardware vs. software keyloggers

There are at least two types of keyloggers: hardware devices and the more common software variety. Hardware devices can be embedded in the PC's internal hardware, or they can be a discrete plug-in that is surreptitiously put into the keyboard port between the CPU box and the keyboard cord to intercept all keystroke signals. However, this implies that the cybercriminal must have physical access to your computer while you are absent in order to install hardware keyloggers.

Software keyloggers are significantly simpler to introduce and install on victims' devices, which is why they are so prevalent. In contrast to other types of malware, software keyloggers do not pose a threat to the systems they infect. In fact, keyloggers are designed to operate invisibly, sniffing out keystrokes while the computer continues to function normally. However, even if keyloggers do not affect the hardware, they are still a threat to users, especially when they take valuable information.

How can I determine if I am infected with a keylogger?

Keyloggers infect PCs (as well as Macs, Android devices, and iPhones) in the same manner as other malware. They install when you click on a file attachment that you were tricked into opening, typically as a result of a social engineering operation or a phishing expedition. Attachments may arrive by email, text message, instant message, social networks, or even a visit to a legitimate but infected website that exploits a vulnerability and delivers a drive-by malware download. Also, keyloggers are rarely alone. The Trojan that installs the keylogger may also install additional malware, such as adware, spyware, ransomware, or a virus.

"Keyloggers are installed when you click on a file attachment that you were tricked into opening, typically as a result of a social engineering technique or a phishing attack."

Hardware keylogger infections are caused by unauthorized access to an unlocked device, which can lead to a variety of scenarios. Suppose a criminal installs a keylogger device in the USB keyboard port of a bank loan officer's computer. This provides the keylogger operator with an abundance of exploitable information regarding the loan officer's typical duties. The computers of a company's accounting department are another rich target. What if you decide to use a public library?ic computer for shopping purposes? The previous user of that Internet café computer could be the next to access your sensitive information.

Do mobile devices receive keyloggers?

There are no known mobile phone hardware keyloggers. However, both Android and iOS devices are susceptible to software keyloggers. Some believe that keylogging is impossible because the mobile device's screen serves as a virtual keyboard. However, a simple search for smartphone keyloggers will reveal how many are available for download. Assuredly, such keyloggers can record the virtual buttons a user presses on a screen, as they can see and record what the user presses.

In addition, once the keylogger has infected a mobile device, it tracks more than simply keyboard activity. The keylogger may access screen captures (of emails, texts, login pages, etc.), the phone's camera, the microphone, connected printers, and network traffic. It can even prevent you from visiting certain websites.

As for infection tactics, a keylogger can be installed by anyone who has momentary access to the phone without the user's awareness. And just as with PC and Mac laptops, tablets, and PCs, smartphone users can infect themselves if they fall victim to phishing campaigns or click on attachments of unknown origin.

How to locate and eliminate keyloggers

Exist telltale indications that your gadget hosts a keylogger? The answer is, it depends. A decent antivirus/anti-malware scanner, such as Malwarebytes, can be used to detect and remove keyloggers.

Keyloggers of inferior quality (such as the malware sort) may manifest in a variety of ways. The program may gradually and noticeably impair smartphone screenshots. Web surfing performance may be impacted across all devices. Or there is a noticeable delay in your mouse movements or keystrokes, or what you are actually type does not appear on the screen. You may also receive an error message when loading images or websites. Overall, something looks to be "odd."

Well-designed commercial-grade keyloggers typically operate flawlessly and have no impact on system performance. When delivering reports to a remote operator, the keylogger disguises itself as normal files or traffic. Some apps will even offer a warning that the system is being monitored, such as in an enterprise computer environment. Others can reinstall themselves if users successfully locate them and seek to uninstall them.

Obviously, the best approach to protect yourself and your equipment against keyloggers is to frequently scan your system with a reputable cybersecurity application. Malwarebytes, for example, is geared to detect keyloggers. It employs heuristic analysis, signature recognition, and the identification of typical keylogger behavior associated with keystroke and screenshot capture to detect and remove malware. If you are afraid that you may have a malware infection, keylogger or otherwise, you can try Malwarebytes for free.

Naturally, the easiest approach to protect yourself and your equipment from keyloggers is to frequently scan your system with a reputable cybersecurity tool.

How can I defend myself against keyloggers?

Avoid keyloggers by avoiding the user errors that allow them to infect mobile devices and desktops. It begins with maintaining your operating system, apps, and web browsers with the most recent security patches. Always be wary of any attachments you get, especially unanticipated ones, even if they appear to originate from a known sender. When unsure, contact the sender for clarification. Keep your passwords lengthy and complicated, and avoid reusing them across services.

Real-time, always-on antivirus/anti-malware protection is the gold standard for preventing infection not only from keyloggers but also from all other malware threats. Malwarebytes is the first line of defense against cybercriminal assaults for all platforms and devices, including Windows and Android, Mac and iPhones, as well as business environments.

Keyloggers have been used for spying reasons since the early days of computing. Wikipedia describes several usage of keyloggers throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, including clandestine government operations.

One of the most infamous early occurrences occurred in the mid-1970s, when Soviet spies targeted IBM Selectric typewriters in the United States with a remarkably sophisticated hardware keylogger.Embassy and Consulate structures are located in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Once placed, the keyloggers measured barely discernible variations in the localized magnetic field of each typewriter as the print head rotated and moved with each keystroke. In the meanwhile, Soviet embassies preferred to type sensitive information on manual typewriters rather than electronic ones.

While various forms of keylogging had been for some time, the production and use of commercial keyloggers exploded in the mid- to late-1990s, with a plethora of new products flooding the market. Since then, the number of commercially accessible keyloggers has skyrocketed to hundreds of distinct products with various target markets and a multitude of languages.

And although historically keyloggers have targeted the home user for fraud, industry and modern state-sponsored keylogging is a real concern, whereby a phishing expedition compromises a low-level employee or functionary and then works its way up the company.

What is keylogging exactly? | Norton Malware

Consider everything you do on a computer or mobile device in a given day. Composing work emails, logging into social media, chatting with friends, searching for information, checking your bank account, and shopping for goods are so common that you may not even recall them all.

Imagine discovering that someone was hiding behind you and observing every key you wrote.

Keylogging, often known as keystroke logging, is the recording of a user's keyboard and device interactions. Although it can be performed legally, hackers and identity thieves also employ data monitoring to gain people's personal information. A keylogger may not be unethical in and of itself, but in the hands of a malicious user, it can inflict significant damage.

Keylogger-based malware has become an additional lethal weapon in the arsenals of cyberattackers. It is essential to understand what a keylogger is, how to identify one, how to prevent keylogging software, and how to protect your personal data.

The legal use of keyloggers is contingent on user consent (depending on local laws), whether they are used maliciously to steal personal information, who owns the devices on which they are placed, and whether the use victimizes someone in violation of any other applicable legislation. Here are some examples of keylogging that may be legal:

Local regulations, user consent, and a lack of intent to misuse user information define legitimate use.

Illegal keylogging examples

Illegal keylogging is complicated by the fact that sometimes a supposedly legal use can cross the border between unethical and unlawful. In general, the use becomes illegal primarily when it results in the theft of confidential data or when software/hardware is installed on a device that does not belong to the user.

In general, the lack of user consent or the use of keyloggers on someone else's property makes keylogging illegal, though local regulations regarding usage can differ.

The dangers posed by keyloggers

It is possible for cybercriminals to capture and use whatever you type. Regardless of how secure you perceive your devices to be, a keylogger compromise poses a significant risk to your cybersecurity since cybercriminals can weaponize some of your routine virtual operations without your knowledge. Through your emails, text messages, login credentials, and online browsing, a great deal of information can be gleaned from your mobile devices.

As previously mentioned, cybercriminals may use keylogging malware to steal more obviously dangerous information such as bank account numbers, PINs, or Social Security numbers, but they can also steal more personally sensitive information such as browsing history, conversations, and even video and audio recordings. After fraudsters have access to this data, you may be vulnerable to the following threats:This is by no means an exhaustive list of how keylogging might be used against you. It is essential to protect your means of data access, transport, and storage in order to mitigate these and other keystroke-monitoring vulnerabilities.

How to stop keyloggers

Follow general online safety recommended practices and maintain a healthy level of suspicion when engaging in any online activity to protect yourself from keylogger malware. Protection against malicious keyloggers is comparable to virus protection, although no method is infallible. Here's how to prevent keylogging assaults as much as possible by minimizing the likelihood of encountering malware.

Enable two-step verification

Two-factor authentication is one of the most effective methods of protection against viruses, malware, and keyloggers. This method, also known as two-factor authentication (2FA), adds an additional login step, such as a fingerprint or temporary PIN texted to your phone, to assist verify that the person accessing into your account is actually you. Enable 2FA whenever possible to prevent remote account access by fraudsters in the event that your credentials are compromised.

Do not download unidentified files

The second-best strategy to protect oneself from infection is to avoid downloading unknown files and to never click on weird URLs. The sophistication of phishing attacks is increasing, so be wary of anyone — even known contacts — who asks you to download attachments or click links out of the blue.

Think about a virtual keyboard

This approach shows an interactive keyboard on the screen, eliminating the need to type on a real keyboard. While a virtual keyboard is not a foolproof preventative measure, it does evade keylogging devices and software meant to record your real keyboard interactions. However, some software can still watch your on-screen interactions, so this tool should not be viewed as a comprehensive solution.

Implement a password manager

Not only are password managers a practical way to guarantee you don't forget the apparently infinite amount of logins we all have to juggle these days, but they also provide excellent security against keyloggers. By logging in with a password manager, you neither display nor type your passwords, preventing keystroke monitors from capturing them.

Install antivirus protection

Look for antivirus software that also protects against spyware and keyloggers. As is the case with all viruses, new, more sophisticated keystroke malware is always being developed; therefore, it is essential to keep your software up-to-date in order to maintain security.

Consider using voice-to-text software

Voice-to-text conversion software, similar to a virtual keyboard, can bypass keylogging techniques that particularly target your real keyboard.

How to locate and eliminate keyloggers

Keyloggers rely on their stealth, but can they be detected? While hardware, such as a USB drive or extra piece linked to your keyboard cable, may be relatively easy to identify, software is sometimes undiscovered until it is too late.

Keylogging malware may exhibit many common virus warning signals, such as decreased computer performance while surfing or launching programs, odd delays in activity, pop-ups, new icons on the desktop or in the system tray, or excessive hard disk or network activity. Follow the methods below to identify and eliminate keylogging malware if you find any of the above.

Check the software inventory Successful keyboard logger detection begins with a thorough inventory of running programs and processes. Despite the fact that many of these may have odd or even suspicious-sounding names, they may blend in with other software's names.

Examine the browser extension

Some keyloggers are designed to track your web activity and may manifest as a browser extension. Examine your browser's menu and locate the list of installed extensions. Deactivate and uninstall any that you are unfamiliar with or have never downloaded.

Remove keyloggers

Keyloggers can be eliminated in a manner similar to other forms of malware. You should always handle computer applications with extreme caution. Even if a program appears to be malicious, it may be an essential tool, and disabling it may cause complications. Once a program has been detected as a keylogger with absolute certainty, disable, uninstall, and/or eliminate it.

What to do if you cannot locate a keylogger

If you are unable to discover any malicious keyloggers but still want to ensure your device is malware-free, you can reinstall your device's operating system or conduct a factory reset, which will essentially delete all data and programs installed beyond the factory defaults.

In an ideal world, you would never need to learn about keylogging. Today, however, there are numerous cybercriminals attempting to fool as many people as possible into installing software such as a keylogger. It is essential to use the internet safely and secure critical information. Wha

How does a Keylogger Gain Access to Your Typed Information?

Before they may monitor the activity on a computer, parents and IT administrators must obviously install keylogging software for lawful purposes. In order to push keyloggers into computers, however, hackers and cybercriminals must adopt illicit means.

For example, hackers might transmit keyloggers via peer-to-peer networks or as an attachment to phishing emails. Anyone who opens the file falls victim to the virus. Utilizing browser and operating system weaknesses, hackers can infiltrate obsolete computers. Essentially, the same methods that hackers use to distribute other malicious software can also be used to distribute keyloggers.

Typically, a hardware keylogger is a USB device with two ports. One of the connectors must be plugged into the keyboard and the other into the computer. In other words, the hardware keylogger is positioned between the keyboard and computer in order to intercept keyboard data being transmitted to the computer.

How Can You Determine if a Keylogger Is Installed?It is highly plausible that someone is monitoring your keystrokes, thus it is acceptable to feel a little paranoid. Unfortunately, there is no trustworthy way to confirm your suspicion. The nature of a keylogger is to capture your text input without being discovered. However, a computer with a keylogger installed may exhibit signs of malware infection. These symptoms include webpages that load more slowly than usual, strange mouse and keyboard behavior, and frequent error warnings. Note that these symptoms typically appear long after a keylogger has infected a computer and transmitted sensitive data to hackers and unauthorized users. Knowing how to prevent a keylogger from entering your computer is a prudent move when it comes to keyloggers (as discussed further below).

Software inspection is practically incapable of detecting hardware keyloggers. In Windows' Device Manager, for instance, keylogging hardware is most likely labeled as a generic device with no indication of its function. You must physically inspect the computer's peripherals and external devices for anything suspicious.

How Do You Protect Yourself and Prevent a Keylogger Attack?

Your primary protection against keyloggers is provided by your antivirus software. Ensure that it is up-to-date and configured to block both dangerous and possibly undesirable software. The usage of a firewall, which monitors incoming and outgoing data transmissions for suspicious activity, is a vital second line of security. Remember that keylogging software must transmit the collected information to hackers online, which it cannot do if a firewall actively blocks the transmission.

Enable two-factor authentication on your online accounts, so that other users cannot access your accounts even if they have obtained your credentials using keyloggers. Avoid visiting untrustworthy websites and opening unknown files that may contain malware. Do not use a public computer to access your internet accounts.

Utilize a password manager that generates and saves your login credentials and other sensitive data. A password manager can auto-fill form fields with credentials, eliminating the need to manually type passwords and expose them to keyloggers. Last but not least, frequently update the passwords for all your critical accounts.

Essentially, if you employ safe computing practices and exhibit extreme caution when you go online, you are secure from keyloggers and other forms of malware.

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References:

> MALWAREBYTES - "Keylogger"

> US - "Internetsecurity malware what is a keylogger"

> TECHOPEDIA - "Keylogger"

> HELLOTECH - "Keyloggers explained"

Emil Sköld

 
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