Keyloggers, also known as keystroke loggers or keyboard captures, are a form of spyware. A keylogger is stealthy in monitoring and recording every keystroke on a device without the victim’s knowledge.
The digital era has made keyloggers a go-to tool for hackers. With many people on their computers and smartphones daily, it has become easier for hackers to monitor what people type and say.
What Is A Keylogger?
Whenever you enter data on your computer or phone’s keyboard, you assume that no one is watching and keeping track of your activities. However, you must be aware of cybercriminals using keyloggers to log everything you type.
A hacker can access your personal information, passwords, and credit card details with keyloggers. They also know the web pages you visit, compromising your online privacy.
Once a keylogger software is installed on your device, it will record everything you type. The information is then transmitted to a server controlled by the hackers.
Types Of Keyloggers
There are two main types of keyloggers: hardware keyloggers and software keyloggers.
A hardware keylogger is a physical device inserted between the CPU box and the keyboard cable into the keyboard port. It then intercepts signals to log everything you type. However, a threat actor needs to have physical access to the victim’s device to use it.
Unlike hardware keyloggers, software keyloggers do not require physical access to the victim’s computer. The software is downloaded onto the victim’s device to monitor activity. A software keylogger can also operate as a remote administration Trojan (RAT) without antivirus programs’ detection.
There are different types of software keyloggers:
- A form-grabbing keylogger logs data entered into an online form. The keylogger mostly appears in malicious websites where users are prompted to provide credentials.
- An API keylogger uses application programming interfaces (APIs) to record keystrokes. The software creates log files each time you press a key in the application.
How Do Keyloggers Work?
Keyloggers do not damage a computer or operating system. Malicious actors use the malware to detect and exploit personal information, including credit card data, to make unauthorized purchases.
Hackers can also use the log files to sign into email accounts to steal information or scam contacts. Threat actors can also log into bank accounts to transfer funds. The malware also threatens companies by infiltrating the network to steal confidential information.
Hackers spread keyloggers through phishing campaigns, social engineering, and downloading malicious software from the internet.
How To Protect Yourself From Keyloggers
Using a firewall is one of the best defenses against keyloggers. A firewall will detect and prevent data transfer using this malware. Monitoring software and antivirus programs also prevents attacks.
Using a password manager that automatically fills in usernames and password fields could protect against keyloggers. Two-factor authentication (2FA) will also offer extra protection to ensure hackers do not steal passwords to access systems.
How To Remove Keyloggers
If you detect a keylogger is installed on your device, you should take steps to remove it immediately. Antivirus software can remove a keylogger automatically. However, if you do not have this software, take the following steps:
- Uninstall the keylogger program from your device
- Clear the temporary files
- Reset the device and restore it from the backup system
A keylogger software compromises your online privacy. An antivirus program must be installed to protect yourself against this malicious software. However, if you are already infected, you should immediately remove the malware from your device.