What is Keylogger And How To Detect it?

Keylogger is a software program or hardware device that is used to monitor and log each of the keys a user types into a computer keyboard. The user who installed the program or hardware device can then view all keys typed in by that user. Because these programs and hardware devices monitor the keys typed in a user can easily find user passwords and other information a user may not wish others to know about.

Keyloggers, as a surveillance tool, are often used by employers to ensure employees use work computers for business purposes only. Unfortunately, keyloggers can also be embedded in malicious purpose, such as stealing sensitive information or monitoring online activity without user knowledge or consent, and allowing your information to be transmitted to an unknown third party.

How Keylogger Works?

A keylogger is a program that runs in the background, recording all the keystrokes. Once keystrokes are logged, they are hidden in the machine for later retrieval, or shipped raw to the attacker. The attacker then peruses them carefully in the hopes of either finding passwords, or possibly other useful information that could be used to compromise the system or be used in a social engineering attack. For example, a keylogger will reveal the contents of all e-mail composed by the user. Keylogger is commonly included in rootkits.

A keylogger normally consists of two files: a DLL which does all the work and an EXE which loads the DLL and sets the hook. Therefore when you deploy the hooker on a system, two such files must be present in the same directory.

Keylogger Types

There are two types of keyloggers: 

  1. Software-based 
  2. Hardware-based

Software-based keyloggers are installed on a computer or device and run in the background, recording all keystrokes made on the device. 

Whereas, Hardware-based keyloggers are physical devices plugged into a computer or device and record keystrokes as they are made.

There are other approaches to capturing info about what you are doing.

* Some keyloggers capture screens, rather than keystrokes.
* Other keyloggers will secretly turn on video or audio recorders, and transmit what they capture over your internet connection.

A keyloggers might be as simple as an exe and a dll that are placed on a machine and invoked at boot via an entry in the registry. Or a keyloggers could be which boasts these features:

* Stealth: invisible in process list
* Includes kernel keylogger driver that captures keystrokes even when user is logged off
* ProBot program files and registry entries are hidden
* Includes Remote Deployment wizard
* Active window titles and process names logging
* Keystroke / password logging
* Regional keyboard support
* Keylogging in NT console windows
* Launched applications list
* Text snapshots of active applications.
* Visited Internet URL logger
* Capture HTTP POST data (including logins/passwords)
* File and Folder creation/removal logging
* Mouse activities
* Workstation user and timestamp recording
* Log file archiving, separate log files for each user
* Log file secure encryption
* Password authentication
* Invisible operation
* Native GUI session log presentation
* Easy log file reports with Instant Viewer 2 Web interface
* HTML and Text log file export
* Automatic E-mail log file delivery
* Easy setup & uninstall wizards
* Support for Windows (R) 95/98/ME and Windows (R) NT/2000/XP

How To Detect Keylogger?

Detecting a keylogger can be difficult as it has developed to run silently in the background without the user’s knowledge or consent. However, there are some possible signs to indicate the presence of a keylogger on your system.

The following are some methods to detect a keylogger:

Check Your System Running Processes

To check for keyloggers, look for suspicious processes on your computer. To do this, open the task manager on your computer and check the list of running processes. Look for any functions that you don’t recognize or that seem suspicious. You can also check each process’s CPU and memory usage, as keyloggers can consume many system resources. For Windows, you can use ProcessExplorer, free software to system monitor.

Use Anti-Malware Software

Anti-malware software can scan your computer for viruses, malware, and other cyber threats, including keyloggers.

Monitor Network Traffic

Some keyloggers transmit captured data to a remote server, so monitoring network traffic can help you detect keylogging activity. You can use network monitoring tools to analyze your network traffic and look for suspicious activity, such as sending data to an unknown IP address.

Check Your Installed Programs

Check your installed programs and look for any unfamiliar or suspicious programs.

Check Your Browser Extensions

Some keyloggers are installed as browser extensions. Check your browser extensions and look for any unfamiliar or suspicious extensions. If you don’t remember installing an extension or it seems suspicious, remove it immediately.

Doing these methods can help to remove keyloggers from your computer.

How to protect yourself from Keylogger?

You can take several steps to protect yourself from a keylogger.

  • Using Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an extra layer of security that requires you to provide a second form of identification. It can prevent hackers from accessing your accounts even if they have your login credentials.

  • Beware of Suspicious Emails

Hackers often use phishing emails and links to trick users into downloading malware or revealing their login credentials. Beware of emails from unknown senders or links that appear suspicious. Do not click on the link or download the attachment.

  • Use Strong Passwords

Using strong and unique passwords for each account can make it difficult for hackers to access. A strong password must be at least 12 characters long and include a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

  • Use Virtual Keyboard

A virtual keyboard allows you to enter text by clicking on a screen rather than typing on a physical keyboard. It can be useful to protect against hardware keyloggers.

  • Don’t use Public Wi-Fi.

You need to avoid using public Wi-Fi networks, which are insecure and more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

  • Use a Firewall

A firewall is a software or hardware device that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic and blocks unauthorized access. A firewall can help protect against keyloggers trying to transmit data to remote servers.

  • Update your System

It’s important to keep your operating system and other software up to date, as security updates can often address keylogging vulnerabilities.

Keyloggers are a severe cybersecurity threat, but with precautions and cyber awareness, you can protect yourself from this insidious cyberattack.

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