What is a Keylogger?
A keylogger, or “keystroke logger,” is a type of software that tracks every key struck on your keyboard. It stores a copy of every keystroke you make on a small, hidden file on your computer, which is retrieved manually or via the internet.
- Unlike traditional malware and viruses, keyloggers belong to a very niche group of software called “spyware.”
- Why hack into computer systems, research people’s lives to guess passwords, or steal data from hyper-secured servers when you can just log every single keystroke until you find the password or username you’re looking for?
- To put it simply, keyloggers are an incredibly common, pervasive, and dangerous type of software that can lead to all sorts of troublesome issues.
Identifying Types of Keyloggers
- Software keyloggers: These are the most common, and are either installed onto your computer directly or over the internet. They often install themselves when you visit a malicious website, download nefarious email attachments, or install shady software. Software keyloggers typically record every keystroke on hidden files that can be recovered at any time.
- Hardware keyloggers: Unlike software keyloggers, hardware keyloggers are physical chips that threat actors put into your computer. If you leave your computer at the local cafe when you visit the restroom, for example, a threat actor may slip this chip into your computer. These are incredibly difficult to detect, and they’re generally the most dangerous form of keylogger.
What Are Keyloggers Looking For?
- 71 percent of data breaches are financially motivated.
- Hackers are looking to steal your identity, rummage through your bank account, and unlock private business information.
- Really, there are a variety of ways that hackers can make money on your data.
- They can sell it on the black market, commit identity fraud (which will cost you approximately $4,800), or even spam your email and mailbox with scams and advertisements.
- Credit card details
- First and last names
- Social Security numbers
- Email addresses
- Bank account details
- Business document details
- Social media accounts
- 401(k) information
- Website details
- Stock trading information
- Game and software licensing keys
How to Identify a Keylogger
- Check Task Manager: Your task manager will keep a log of all processes currently running on your computer. You should check to ensure that there aren’t any fishy-sounding processes running (hint: Google the names of the processes to find out more information).
- Press Ctrl + Alt + Del
- Click Task Manager
- Click the Processes tab
- Sift through the list to find any suspicious names
- Type %temp% into the Search Bar
- Delete all the files in the Temp Folder
- Type Windows Defender Firewall in the Search Bar
- Turn Windows Defender Firewall On