What Is Keylogger And How to Protect Yourself From It

>> Friday, 12 October 2012

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Keylogging is one of the most dangerous methods of hacking which involves gaining over confidential information like passwords, bank details, credit card number or anything else that you type. Yes. Anything you type. A keylogger basically does this - Captures whatever you type through your keyboard and secretly sends it to the hacker who owns it or has been programmed to be sent to. 

pressing keyboard key
These types of keyloggers are widely used at public places like cyber-cafe and offices to monitor the activities performed with the computer. But this creates a lot of potential danger for people who use a keylogger-enabled PC for bank purpose or for other confidential works. And at many places, such keyloggers are installed for hacking and illegal purposes.

Even your own PC can get infected by a keylogger malware which can destroy your important data from your hard drive, steal your passwords and even steal your bank details. So protecting yourself from keyloggers is very important. Every PC owner should know about the basics of these dangerous tools and how you can protect yourself from keylogging.

There are two types of keyloggers:


1. Hardware Keyloggers:

A hardware keylogger is just a small piece of hardware that it manually attached to the keyboard wire entering into the PC's CPU. The keylogger is placed at an intermediate position between the keyboard's wire and CPU plug. The following illustrates the use of a hardware keylogger:
ps2 hardware keylogger
working of keylogger

What to do to protect yourself from hardware keylogger:

Whenever you visit a public computer cafe, then check the CPU for such a keylogger. Keep a habit of checking it whenever you use a public PC for confidential use. You won't find such hardware keyloggers installed at your PC -unless you have a hacker as your brother-sister :) So no need to worry about hardware keyloggers at home. But even while at home, you have to worry about software keyloggers.

Also, whenever possible, use on-screen keyboard while entering important details like passwords and bank details.

2. Software Keyloggers:

A software keylogger is a program intended to run in stealth mode to capture your keyboard strokes and send them to hackers. A software keylogger is difficult to detect because you will never get a notification that- "Hey, we are installing a keylogger to C:\keylogger\ Thanks for chosing us and gettting hacked! ". Neither would you be able to find the keylogger program in taskmanager if the keylogger is a professional one. 

Public PCs are high vulnerable so they are the hot favorites for such keylogger programs. But even your home PC can get infected. A software keylogger can be easily downloaded from a misleading spam site. Your one mistake in trusting a site for downloading can lead you to big trouble. Keyloggers can come along with such misleaded downloads and can be installed silently into your PC. The methods of protecting yourself from such software keyloggers is similar to protecting your PC from virus and malware.

What to do to protect yourself from software keyloggers:

Never download just anything from anywhere. People who have just set up internet connection with a brand new PC are most likely to waste their internet usage and time by downloading themes, wallpapers and many customization packs, games and everything. Downloading anything from the net can be easy but also at the same time can be very dangerous. Keep in mind to download from only trusted sites. Never download from sites that have too many misleading ads or temptations. Work sensibly and protect yourself from downloading unwanted malware and viruses. If you are not careful, then you may even end up downloading a theme + a keylogger which would install silently without your knowledge.

Use a firewall and antivirus with the latest updates. A firewall may easily detect and block a keylogger of medium to high stealth levels.

Here also, you should use on-screen keyboard while entering your confidential details.

Summary:

  • A keylogger captures the details you enter through your keyboard.
  • Keyloggers are of two types - Hardware and Software
  • Check for a keylogger whenever you use a public PC.
  • Download stuff from only trusted sites.
  • Install and regularly udpate a firewall and antivirus
  • Use on-screen keyboard while entering confidential details like passwords, bank details.
Hope you liked the information here. Feel free to share your views with us. Happy protecting!



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