Even without physical access to your computer or knowledge of any of your passwords, malicious spyware programs can infect your devices and networks. There is a ton of spyware out there. Some of it monitors your personal usage and browsing preferences and is used by marketing departments in order to more precisely target you with their advertising. Other spyware is there to purloin your personal data.
One of the most sinister is categories of spyware is keylogger software. It records and transmits the record of all the keys pressed on your keyboard, which renders it possible to steal PINs, passwords, and credit card numbers. Virtually all of it is designed to operate without you knowing it is there. This makes it imperative to run a legitimate anti-spyware program on your network.
Not all keylogger programs are bad
Information Technology companies use keyloggers to troubleshoot computer problems. These programs can also be used by you or your business to keep an eye on how the network is used by people without their direct knowledge. Parents like them as part of their at-home parental control plan. But malicious people can put keyloggers onto public computers to steal private information like passwords and credit card numbers.
What information can a keylogger harvest?
Although the possibilities are varied, a keylogger can usually do these things:
- capture the passwords of users
- preform screen captures of the computer regularly
- make a record of the URLs visited by browsers
- make lists of the applications users run on the machine
- capture entire instant messaging sessions
- collect copies of emails that have been sent
- automatically forward the reports of stored logs and emails to another location by email, FTP or HTTP.
How to tell whether your device has a keylogger
It can be difficult to detect the presence of a keylogger on a computer. They are usually designed to elude notice. They are often part of a larger malware package. Keylogger programs are available for free on the Internet or through a commercial or private enterprise. They can require different aspects of technology all working together.
Sometimes they will be installed on hidden folders on the system. Or they may be slyly disguised, hiding the program from the operating system task list. Anti-key logging programs are available to protect you from hidden keylogging systems and can be very effective.
Choosing the right keylogger for you
When shopping for a good keylogger for your home or business, consider the following before you decide:
- Will it support your operating system?
- Are its reports easy to find and read? Clearly formatted reports sent to your mailbox are so much easier to use than ones that scatter data all over the hard drive in oddly labeled files.
- Is it well hidden? If not, a savvy user will just find it and disable it.
- Finally, don’t overlook the fact that if it uses too much memory or processing power, it may have a detrimental effect on productivity.