What is it and how can you keep yourself safe?
A Keylogger is one of the many tools a hacker might choose to capture all the data imputed via your PC's keystrokes. Every button you press on your keyboard would be recorded and stored for the end-user (In most cases, a scammer) to see and potentially use against you. But in some cases, they might not be installed/used for malicious intent.
Non-malicious Keylogger Use:
A keylogger may be used for non-malicious or malicious activities. Some good, non-malicious activities an installer might use a keylogger for include:
Parents check their child's computer history.
Employers review their employee's working activities. (This is a more practical tool for employers now due to the increase in remote workers.)
Keeping an individual's information, such as passwords, stored outside a saved file. (Although possible, it's highly not recommended.)
While the keylogger uses mentioned above are methods to help achieve a certain harmless task, you might find that there are better, safer alternatives for some of them.
Malicious Keylogger Use:
As discussed earlier, the main and more commonly known use for a keylogger is to collect your information without your knowledge. The installer achieves this with one of two methods.
The main attribute of a hardware keylogger is it has been physically connected to your computer or device via a wire or USB.
95% of hardware keyloggers can be removed with ease. However, even once removed, some hardware keyloggers still provide recorded information.
More advanced hardware keyloggers can be used to sweep and scan for inputs from wireless keyboards, meaning it doesn't have to be directly connected to your machine.
A software program that has been secretly installed on your computer by a hacker.
Usually maintains operational in the background without any realization/detection from the computer user.
A lot of keyloggers only look to capture the keystrokes of your keyboards. However, some adapted versions of keyloggers are capable of capturing a screenshot on your device. This is used to aid the hacker in getting around some secure information that includes drop-down menus such as banking logins.
There are many different types of software keyloggers, and some of them have the potential to hide within some of your more frequently used applications.
How can I locate a Keylogger?
The best and most efficient way to detect if you have a software keylogger is to check the system processes on your computer to see if anything is abnormal. In some cases, you should be able to end the keylogger process or remove it with anti-keylogger software. If the keylogger isn't being removed easily, you may only have one alternative option; completely reformat your computer and reinstall your operating system. This will remove anything that shouldn't be on your computer, especially if it is attached to a piece of software not native to your operating system. When it comes to hardware keyloggers, you are more than likely going to be safe while home. But if you are using a 3rd party device, it is simply best to check and review the machine you are using. Remember that when you are operating on someone else's computer, it's simply best not to input personal information.
Hardware keyloggers are more likely to be used on 3rd party computers, such as in libraries, so it's simply best to review the computer before use, checking all USB and connection points for anything suspicious.
Installing a strong antivirus software to prevent keylogging software from being installed.
Using anti-keylogging software to detect and maintain a clean machine. You should find that good antivirus software has this included.
Maintain a clean online policy. Don't click on any links that are from unknown sources or websites. Usually, they come via email or pop-up ads.
Always look to have an up-to-date computer. Download the latest operating updates. In most cases, they come with added security.