What is keylogger and how does it works actually

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Technology has become a part of our life. In day to day life, PC or laptop is like one of the common things everyone using. Do you know your input activity on the keyboard can be tracked through keylogger?

After hearing the word “keylogger” suddenly there are many queries comes with this. What is keylogger? How does keylogger work? Is keylogging harmful? How to prevent keylogging?

Well, I appreciate your curiosity. This is why I am going to discuss each and every query from what is keylogger to how to prevent keylogging etc.

Without wasting time let’s jump into it.

What is keylogger

First thing first.

A keylogger is a software or a hardware device that logs every key you press on your keyboard. It can capture anything you type on a keyboard like personal chat messages, passwords, credit card numbers, and everything else you type.

Keylogger is sometimes known as keystroke logging also. This basically contains the action of recording (logging) of keys struck on a keyboard.

This is the most basic keylogger example. Some advanced level keylogger software can have more functions like taking sending reports to e-mail, screenshots, storing a history of browsing and opening apps.

After hearing this you may have the doubt that this is malicious. Yes, your assumption is partially correct.

Partially correct why?

In most of the cases, keyloggers are installed by a malware. But this is a positive side of this.

Sometimes it was installed intentionally. It may installed by protective parents, jealous spouses, or employers who want to monitor their employees.

So as of now, you may have a clear understanding of what is a keylogger. It is not always destructive.

Keyloggers can be associated with the operating system of your computer. These types of malware are called “rootkit” viruses. Some keylogger can also work at a lower level than the OS. These are known as “hypervisor malware.”

Beyond that, some keyloggers can attach itself to your web browser as a hidden extension. After that, it records every keystrokes that you make through the browser. Other keyloggers associated with web pages, so that the attackor can stole all the data of visitors.

Also, read – What is Firmware

How would a keylogger installed on a computer

As I discussed the keylogger has both dark side and bright side, so there is a number of possibilities.

  • Keyloggers can be installed wh you click on a link or opens an attachment/file from a suspicious phishing mail.
  • a keylogger can be installed via a web page script which exploits a browser vulnerability.
  • It can be installed when a user opens a file attached to an email
  • Keyloggers can be installed through the webpage script when you visit the malicious website.
  • It can be installed by a protective parent to see everything their child types.
  • A jealous spouse concerned about their husband or wife cheating might install a keylogger on their computer to keep tabs on them. It’s not a good thing, but it happens.
  • Some employers may install keystroke loggers on their employees’ computers to monitor everything they do.

How does keylogger work

After knowing the possible region keylogger installed on your computer, let’s know how does keylogger works?

As I discussed earlier, there are two types of keylogger. One is software keylogger and another is hardware keylogger.

Software Keyloggers

Normally, Keylogging software runs hidden in the background. The software is specially programmed to make a note of each keystroke you type on the keyboard.

The software has the capability to scan through the file for a specific type of text pattern. To make it simple, let’s take your credit card number. The credit card number is always in a sequence. The software always looking for that type of sequence and upload them to a malicious server so they can be abused.

software keylogger

Sometimes it also acts so intelligently. The software may also be combined with other types of computer monitoring software. In this way, it Is easier for the attacker to narrow the information they want.

A keylogger could detect the first keystrokes you typed into an online game or chat program, stealing your password.

Some keylogger software can take a screenshot. So one can combine the type of history with screenshots of what was on your computer screen at the time.

Hardware Keyloggers

Some keyloggers can be implemented entirely as hardware devices. A typical desktop keyboard connected to the back of the computer using a USB cable.

If someone unplugs the keyboard’s USB cable from the CPU and attach a specialized USB device between the computer’s USB port and the keyboard’s USB connector, then the device could function as keylogger hardware.

Sitting in the middle, it could intercept keyboard signals from the keyboard, store them on the connected device, and then pass the keystrokes information to the computer.

hardware keylogger

So in this way, everything would appear to be working normally. This is more convenient that software keylogger because any security software on the computer wouldn’t be able to detect this keylogger. Because it runs entirely in hardware. If the computer were hidden under a desk or any type of covering, then no one would notice the device and the device collects the data secretly.

The person could then come back a few days later to grab the device and sneak off with it, leaving no trace of keylogging software or suspicious network activity.

After reading this you may have aware about it. So, just check the back of your computer and ensure there’s no suspicious device between your keyboard cable and the computer itself.

Top 10 keyloggers

Here are some famous top 10 keyloggers software.

  • Spyrix Free Keylogger
  • KidLogger
  • Actual Keylogger
  • Revealer Keylogger Free
  • REFOG Free Keylogger
  • Ardamax Keylogger
  • Real Free Keylogger
  • BlackBox Express
  • DanuSoft Free Keylogger
  • Sourceforge Keylogger

How to detect a keylogger?

To say franky you can’t detect a keylogger at first sight. If it is a hardware keylogger, then you might do so.

But in most cases, the keylogger is in a software form and this makes it invisible and hard to detect.

As you can’t feel any difference after any keylogger installed in your computer, you might not aware of its presence.

Don’t lose your hope. There are some methods you can use to detect.

The first method you can use is, Task Manager. As you know it shows the list of running applications. Open your Task Manager and check the running applications.

Keyloggers don’t have an ugly name so that you can find them on first sight. So you may not find them instantly on your Task Manager window. Search for the names that you think maybe a keylogger. You may found that on Google and someone has written on it.

If you found any, then instantly uninstall it. It will most likely be listed under Background processes. Another suitable place to look for keyloggers is under the Startup tab. Some software initiated at the time of switch-on of the computer. If you found anything suspicious there then disable it.

Another place to look for suspicious activity of this type of software is in the internet usage report on your computer. On Windows, press the Windows button + “I”. You will be in the settings screen. Select Network & Internet and then select the Data usage option. Click on View usage details.

Now you will see a list of all the programs that are using the Internet on your computer. Search the names you don’t recognize in that list to see if they are keyloggers present.

Another place to look for is the browser extension. If any suspicious extension installed there then install that.

These are some of the methods you can use to detect keylogger.

How to prevent keylogging?

Nowadays data is the new currency. After reading about keylogger and all the above things, now you may think about how to prevent it.  Keylogging software is essentially just another type of malware as you know before. You can avoid keylogging software in the same way you avoid others.

Use a good antivirus program that will hopefully prevent keyloggers from running. There is no bullet-proof way of avoiding keyloggers. Just be careful and exercise basic computer security practices.

Prevent keylogging

Always use two-factor authentication through one time passwords. It may help users protect their sensitive credentials like a credit card or like that. Some services are by default gives this facility.

Some suggestions for the virtual keyboard to avoid personal data interception. But this is not a fulltime solution for this. Some advance keylogging software can track any type of input, whether it comes from the regular keyboard or virtual keyboard.

Take caution when opening attachment files. Keyloggers can be present in files received through email, chats, P2P networks, text messages or even social networks.

Conclusion

We have covered everything related to keylogger like what is a keylogger, how keylogger works, etc. I think you have a brief idea about these topics.

Keylogging may cause huge impact if your personal data is In the hands of a hacker or a cybercriminal. As these type of software are running in the background, one can’t know about the existence normally.

It has both good and bad effect. Follow the above tips to prevent yourself from the keylogger software.

If you get any value from this article, don’t forget to share. Because who knows your sharing may help someone from a huge danger. Keep this thing in mind and leave a comment below about your opinion.

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Bibhu Prasad Bal

A professional blogger, content writer, and a tech-savvy guy. He loves to explain stuff in a simple way, no matter what and how complicated it is.

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