Keyloggers are among the easiest ways to hack someone. It’s a piece of code that hides from your eyes and operates in the background. It records every keystroke you make. From your chats to the usernames and passwords you enter – everything is watched by keyloggers.
And that’s not all, most keyloggers come with screenshot tools as well. So they take screenshots of your device after specified intervals. They capture your mouse movement too. Basically, they are the ultimate hacking tool to capture every move you make on your device – computer or smartphone.
You might think nobody would be interested in your data but a disgruntled ex (or even a nosy neighbor) might want to know what the heck is going on in your life.
There are both software and hardware keyloggers. The hardware devices would be placed on the cabinet where the keyboard wire is attached.
To install a hardware keylogger, a hacker would need access to your physical device, which is why they aren’t very popular. Besides, they can easily be detected – there’s an extra device between your keyboard and the rest of the computer. It’s not very sneaky.
To protect yourself from hardware keylogger, just check the port where keyboard wire goes in. Nothing there? You’re safe – but only from a hardware device. Who knows what malware resides on your computer.
Let’s discuss software keyloggers. These software tools are easily available on the dark web and some of them are even free. So any hacker with the basic internet knowledge can use them to spy on you.
If a keylogger is installed on your system, it will send the keystroke information and screenshots to the hacker through the internet.
How do you Get Affected by a Keylogger?
The most common way is phishing. You might get an email that contains a seemingly harmless and important document. You proceed to download it and it’s a brochure or something else you don’t need. You close the document and don’t think about it again.
But maybe the file came with another attachment you didn’t know about. The brochure might have installed a keylogger on your system.
Or if you download illegal files, there are strong chances of downloading a keylogger along. For example, illegal games and movies can be infected with them. When you download them on your computer/smartphone, your device will get infected by them.
Another way to get affected by a keylogger is if the hacker has physical access to your device. If a friend took your phone for a couple of minutes or a colleague wanted to use your computer for an assignment – it could be anything.
How to Avoid a Keylogger
If you’re a careful user, you can stay protected from keyloggers. Here are some tips to stay safe from these malicious tools.
⚠️ Don’t download files from untrusted sources
Apps should be downloaded from official app stores only. If an app is not available on Google Play Store, try to look for its alternatives that are available on the store. Piracy can be dangerous. There’s no point in getting an app and risking your usernames and passwords for it.
⚠️ Use a password manager
When you use a password manager, you enter passwords only once and don’t have to fill them in each time you have to log in. For example, if you’re using a password manager, it will ask you for the password to a particular website.
If later you get infected by a keylogger, it won’t be able to steal your password because you won’t type it every time you open that website.
A password manager will also make things easier for you as you can have strong passwords for all accounts without the need to remember them.
⚠️ Use security tools
A good antimalware will be able to detect a keylogger. Make sure you have the basic security apps on your device. These will include antivirus, antimalware, and VPN. With these tools, you reduce your chances of being hacked or being infected by a keylogger.
⚠️ Avoid public computers
If you’re accessing the internet from a friend’s computer, try not to open any email, social media, or bank accounts. If that friend has a keylogger on their device, they’ll be able to see whatever you did on their computer.
What to do if you Suspect a Keylogger on Your Device
You need to install a good antimalware and scan your device. Also, change the passwords of all your accounts – you don’t know what information the keylogger has stolen.
If you didn’t find anything using antimalware and you still have a strong suspicion that there’s a keylogger, take a backup of your photos and videos (and other important files) and reset your device.
Having a keylogger can be scary. It runs secretly and most probably won’t show up on the list of currently running processes. This is why detecting a keylogger isn’t easy.
But if you do feel that someone has access to your accounts, there might be a keylogger at play. Make sure you act fast because a keylogger can steal all your bank information and cause you real harm.
Once you reset your device, you need to change all the passwords as well. Opening every account and changing the password can be difficult. A password manager can help you out. There are several password managers that allow you to change all passwords with just one click.
The new passwords are strong and are generated by the password manager itself. You don’t need to remember them either – the password manager will remember them for you.
Keyloggers are dangerous
You must have anti-malware software on your device so you can find and remove a keylogger before it does any harm. Always keep a recent backup of all important files so that if you ever have to reset your device, you can do that without losing anything.