There are many different types of software that can track and monitor you on the Internet. In most cases, you likely won’t even know that someone or something is spying on you and your activity. This is the case with keylogging software. You may be asking yourself, “What is keylogging software, and how does it affect me?” In this article, we’ll explain the basics of keylogger software, how it works, and how you can protect yourself from it.
What is Keylogging Software?
Keylogging software, or “keyloggers,” are software, or physical devices, that record and track each keystroke made on a phone or computer. These can appear in a few different forms. Some methods may involve monitoring keystrokes while others might record your microphone, camera, copy-and-paste keyboard, and more. Ultimately, these keyloggers are tracking input and gathering information.
Hardware keyloggers were once the most popular version of this monitoring system. To use them, spies would install devices or USB drives into various technology and record the data that was added to them. In recent years, they have significantly dropped in popularity and been replaced by keylogging software. However, some criminals have been known to use other types of hardware to gather information, including cameras trained on keyboards to record keystrokes and other inputs. There are even some devices that can be purchased with keylogging built in.
Although hardware keylogging was the standard practice for years, keylogging software has now taken over. This software runs unnoticed in the background while simultaneously recording and cataloging everything you input. But how does it work?
How Does Keylogging Work?
Keylogging software focuses on recording inputs made on a keyboard. When you hit a key, this is what’s known as a “keystroke.” These keystrokes are just one type of input that records your data. Other forms might be a webcam or microphone. Keyloggers track all of the data you put on your device. Keylogging software even records minute information about your input, including the time when you were typing it, how long you pressed each key, and more.
But you might be wondering, what happens to your data? With a keylogger, your data gets stored and sent to the individual who placed it there. For keylogging hardware, on the other hand, the data can only be retrieved manually. This is another reason why keylogging software has surpassed keylogging hardware in popularity.
What are the Different Types of Keyloggers?
Although they sound like they only exist for nefarious purposes, keylogging software is widely used legally in many offices across the world. Businesses routinely use keylogging software to monitor employee activity, although the employees must consent to the use of it first. Some parents might also use keyloggers to track their child’s online activity and ensure that they are browsing the Internet safely. Depending on the type of software, parents can even set up keyloggers to distribute notifications based on their child’s online activities.
Certain businesses use versions of keylogging on their websites for marketing purposes. Reports indicate that some companies even recorded visitors’ email addresses from their websites without obtaining consent from their users. Luckily, new government restrictions are reducing the frequency of these non-consensual keyloggers. This doesn’t mean that cybercriminals will look for ways to exploit it any less, of course. In fact, monitoring keystrokes has become an increasingly popular tactic used in cyber attacks.
How to Identify Keylogging Software on Your Device
Now that you know what keylogging software is and what it can do, you’re likely wondering how to detect it on your own device. Keyloggers are created with the express purpose of being hard to identify and it can often be hard to spot them. Luckily, there are a few ways that you can find out whether or not your device has keylogging software installed.
- Freezing or crashing
- Slow response time
- Updated browser settings
- New software you don’t recognize
Of course, these signs are only an indication of basic keyloggers. Advanced versions are nearly impossible to identify by design. Even in the case of locating a physical keylogger, you would need a professional to disassemble your computer or phone to find it. This is what makes keyloggers so desirable to cybercriminals, and why it’s important for users to stay vigilant about protecting their data.
Tips for Protecting Yourself Against Keyloggers
Cybercriminals can use keylogging software to track your keystrokes and steal your credentials. With this, they can then fraudulently impersonate you online and even use your identity without your consent. This is why it’s so important to ensure that your device is protected from potential threats to your security. Take a look at the following tips for protecting yourself against keylogging software.
- Run frequent antivirus checks
- Never use USBs or hard drives that aren’t yours
- Use two-factor authentication on all your devices
- Avoid clicking on pop-ups or suspicious attachments
- Never leave your devices unattended in public places
Keeping yourself safe online has become more of a challenge than ever before. With cybercriminals waiting around every corner, it’s becoming increasingly necessary to ensure that you remain secure and protected on your personal devices.
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