Security Alert: Keyloggers – Who’s Watching Your Computer?
You use your computer in an isolated room away from prying eyes. Or do you? Employers, suspicious romantic partners, and cybercriminals alike often use keylogger software to spy on others. If your computer has one of these programs installed on it, you probably don’t know it. Meanwhile, every key you press is captured and sent to whomever planted the software.
What is Keylogger Software?
According to Webopedia, keylogger software is a form of surveillance software. It records keystrokes to a log file and then sends that file to a specified recipient. Keyloggers can capture everything you type including chats, instant messages, email, URLs, bank account and credit card numbers, passwords, and more. In short, if you enter it by pressing keys on your keyboard, it’s captured.
The Dangers of Keyloggers
Think about what you type on a routine basis. Facebook updates, work documents, chats with friends, web addresses, user names, passwords, and Social Security numbers are fairly common. Now, think about what someone could do with that information.
. A partner could accuse you of an emotional or physical affair
. An employer could penalize you for using your work computer for personal purposes
. Cybercriminals could easily log into your online banking accounts
. Identity thieves could steal your identity
These are just a few of the dangers of keylogger software. Though you may think you have nothing to hide (you’re not doing anything wrong!), your confidential information is at risk.
Mitigating the Risk
If your computer is online, it is at risk. Keylogger software can be installed via other forms of malware. For example, it could piggyback on a downloaded program or be downloaded and installed by a Trojan. Use a good computer security program designed to detect, block, and remove malware.
Next, assume that your computer is infected. Hackers are often one step ahead of computer security products. Thus, even with protection, there could be a small window of time between infection and detection / removal.
Operating under the assumption that your computer is recording your keystrokes, you’ll want to be careful what you type.
What if you never actually typed your user names and passwords? The software can’t capture those keystrokes. A password manager can help you to mitigate the risk by storing your most sensitive information and allowing you to use it without typing. You can also create secure entries for information such as your Social Security or credit card numbers. Simply copy and paste as needed.
The threat from keylogger software is real, even if you have nothing to hide. Use a password manager to protect your most sensitive information from being stolen.
April 17, 2015 / By: Celeste