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How a Keylogger Works (And How You Can Protect Yourself)

How a Keylogger Works (And How You Can Protect Yourself)


What is a keylogger? Is all keylogger software bad? What can you do if you suspect keylogger software is on your computer? Read on to learn the ABCs of keylogger software, and the pros of receiving information security services of Detroit.


How a Keylogger Works (And How You Can Protect Yourself)

Keylogger Software Explained

In a nutshell, keylogger software is used for surveillance purposes. If used inappropriately, it can be considered a type of spyware. As its name suggests, a keylogger is a hardware device or piece of software that records a user’s keyboard strokes in real time.

As Lifewire further states, keylogger software can not only record keyboard strokes but track URLs visited, web pages viewed, applications downloaded, IM messages typed, and emails sent, among a host of other capabilities.

Keylogger software in itself is legal. Parents and employers can (and have) used keylogger software to monitor children’s and employees’ Internet use. While the grounds for doing this may be up for debate, this article will focus on the illegal usage of keyloggers.

Keylogger software is used by malicious hackers for personal gain, whether that be blackmail, identity theft, financial profit, revenge, etc. Negligence and accidental cyber threats are out the door; these individuals know exactly what they are getting into—intentionally seeking to cause damage.

How Malicious Hackers Use Keylogger Software to Get What They Want

Malicious hackers may have a set target in mind. This could be done by planning and instigating an evil maid attack. When the victim is away from his/her computer, the hacker may physically install keylogger software on the device. When the victim comes back and logs onto his/her computer, success complete: the keylogger software will have recorded the information.

Completing the evil maid attack, the hacker then comes back to the computer and extracts the damaging information.

When There Isn’t a Specific Target

Other times, there may not be a specific target in mind; simply whoever downloads innocent-looking software.

The victim will enter a website that appears clean. Thinking it is normal antivirus software, the victim will download the software, not knowing that what they are also downloading is a keylogger Trojan.

Sadly, once the (innocent?) software is downloaded, so is the keylogger. Mission successful.

Who Is a Potential Victim?

The quintessential victim will be someone who does not stay on top of updating his/her antivirus software and applications. That or he/she has the antivirus software turned off.

He/She will repeatedly leave his/her device alone—even when in public settings like a café or at the airport. This leaves the device exposed to an evil maid attack.

The potential victim will look to download programs off of websites that may look innocent but are filled with Trojans. If it looks fine it is, right? (Wrong—unfortunately, this common assumption comes with a price.)


How a Keylogger Works (And How You Can Protect Yourself)


How to Prevent Malicious Hackers from Installing a Keylogger on Your Device

Remember to update, update, update your antivirus software and all applications on your devices. If you get a (reputable) notification that programs need to be downloaded, please do so.

Also, seek to update and have the latest antivirus and anti-malware software. In addition, only download from websites you are 100% sure are virus-free.

On top of this, discuss with reputable and experienced cyber professionals ways you can bolster your cybersecurity arsenal so you aren’t exposed to cyber threats—such as falling victim to a keylogger Trojan.

How Employers Can Prevent Keylogger Attacks in the Workplace

Employers can apply the tips mentioned above in the workplace. This includes having cyber professionals train employees on what a keylogger is, ways to prevent keylogger software from being installed on their devices (and subjecting the company to an even larger cyber threat), as well as basic cyber hygiene.

Final Thoughts

Used in the wrong hands, a keylogger can cause chaos—personal information extracted and exposed, and financial damage reaped, not to mention the potential loss in reputation (which can lead to a loss in customers).

Have you heard of a keylogger before? What is your experience with cybersecurity in the workplace? How have you trained your employees on cyber hygiene? What has your experience been with malicious hackers?

Information Security Services of Detroit Can Help

CBI, information security services of Detroit, can help improve your cybersecurity methods. Contact CBI to learn more.