What Is A Keystroke Logger?

According to security experts, keystroke loggers may pose a larger risk to the average PC user than any other type of online attack or malicious piece of code. Keystroke loggers, also known as keyloggers,  are typically very tiny programs or, on rare occasions, pieces of hardware that can monitor and record every key that you press on your keyboard. That means every key, including the delete button, spaces and even the enter key.

What Is A Keystroke Logger?

 

Whilst keystroke loggers generally enjoy bad publicity it should be noted that they can actually serve some useful purposes and some are still marketed for their ability to allow concerned and responsible parents to monitor what their children are up to on the internet. Unfortunately, however, their ability to spy and record what is occurring on a keyboard means that they appeal to criminals too who utilise them to acquire sensitive information, such as login names, passwords, bank account numbers, etc.

Such information is then forwarded, either by the keylogger itself or a trojan, to the hacker who will then use your information to your detriment.

As with any technology, keyloggers are evolving all the time, becoming more sophisticated by the day. Once installed on a PC they are able to not only record keystrokes but also which websites have been visited which allows cybercriminals to then extract the information they need to break into your online accounts, especially those that are likely to give them access to your money. For that reason keyloggers are becoming an increasingly popular tool amongst identity thieves and a large proportion of all financial cybercrime is committed by using them.

Your PC can actually become infected with a keystroke logger in a variety of ways. These include clicking on web links, opening infected email attachments and being tricked into downloading something that contains the malicious code. Keystroke loggers can also be introduced to a system via a previously installed Trojan.

At this point I would recommend that you read up on how to protect yourself against keyloggers in order to ensure that you don’t become a cybercriminal’s the next victim.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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