When you type something on your computer keyboard can you be sure that you are the only one who reads your words?
Even if you appear to be alone your privacy may not be intact.
WHAT IS A KEYSTROKE LOGGER?
A keystroke logger is one of the most dangerous forms of spyware.
Dangerous because not only can it snoop on your computer-related activities but because it can also relay all that you do back to a remote computer.
From there, the owner of the keylogger can likely discover your name, address, credit card and bank account numbers, Social Security number,…, you get the picture.
A keystroke logger can give so much information about you away that identity theft will be just around the corner.
Of course keystroke loggers are not a new phenomenon – they have been around for a great many years.
However, with all the other threats to be found online, such as scams, spam, viruses, etc, key loggers are no longer at the forefront of people’s minds.
Considering the devastation they can inflict, they should be!
3 TYPES OF KEYSTROKE LOGGER
Here’s a brief description of the types of keystroke logger that you may encounter –
Windows operating systems have an in-built function called ‘SetWindowsHookEx’.
As you may be able to guess, this function monitors key strokes.
Whilst there are legitimate uses for this function, a hacker could utilise it for their own nefarious purposes if given the opportunity.
Kernel / Driver Loggers
This type of keystroke logger is, perhaps, the hardest to detect.
A kernel logger will receive information directly from an input device, such as a keyboard, via the operating system.
Such a logger can be used to read key strokes and is often executed at the beginning of the boot sequence, before anti-spyware programs, allowing it to remain undetected.
A hardware logger is a physical device that is usually places between the computer and it’s keyboard.
Typically, it will be small enough to go undetected for some time.
A hardware logger may be a surefire way to capture key strokes, though physical access to the target machine is quite obviously required for installation to be successful.
5 WAYS TO DEFEND AGAINST KEYSTROKE LOGGERS
The following 5 basic and common sense tips should help you avoid having a keylogger installed onto your system –
- Scan your entire system for viruses and spyware on a regular basis
- Question the origin of every email you receive, even if they appear to be from friends
- Never, ever, open email attachments unless you are 100% certain they are safe
- Always have a firewall running to block unauthorised traffic
- Avoid clicking on pop-up windows on websites
Spyware is an ever-increasing problem, and one which may surpass viruses as the biggest threat and nuisance in the online world.
It may well be worth investing in a quality anti-spyware package to bolster your defence against keyloggers as well as a whole host of other undesirable side effects of the world wide web.