While cybercriminals keep getting smarter and smarter as technology advances, there are still original forms of hacking that prevail today. Keylogging is one of the oldest cyber threats; it’s a monitoring software that records the keyboard strokes of a user. Using this kind of spyware, hackers are able to obtain sensitive information that you type, such as passwords, credit card details and other personal identifying information, then report it to a third-party server where cybercriminals make use of this data.
If the hacker doesn’t sell this data, they may use it as part of a bigger attack depending on their motives and the information gathered.
You might think that all keylogging activity is illegal, but some uses of this software are allowed. For example, IT departments often use keyloggers to troubleshoot problems and to keep an eye on the activity of employees. The FBI also uses this technology to record information for investigations. Parents may install a keylogger to watch what their kids are up to online.
When a keylogger is installed with malicious intent without the device owner knowing, that’s when it becomes threatening. Keeping an eye on clues that identify you might have someone tracking your keystrokes is an important step in protecting your information.
Signs You Could Have a Keylogger
A commercial grade keylogger shouldn’t affect your system performance at all, which makes it difficult to detect. But keyloggers that are poorly made, such as the malware type, could reveal themselves more easily. If any of the following are happening to your device, take the hint that you might have a keylogger on your hands.
- There’s a significant slowdown of web performance on your phone or computer
- Your software starts to degrade smartphone screenshots
- You notice a new lag in either keystrokes or mouse movements
- What you type doesn’t show up on the screen as it should
How to Prevent It from Happening to You
The most certain way to protect yourself and your devices from keyloggers is to use a quality cybersecurity program. For example, virus protection from a reliable company like Malwarebytes has the capability to identify keyloggers. Using recognition technology signature to its platform, the anti-malware software is able to diagnose typical behavior associated with this kind of surveillance, and then it can swiftly remove it from your device.
In addition, make sure you update your apps, web browsers and operating system regularly to prevent malware. You should always be wary of opening any attachments or links from unrecognized senders, and skeptical of strange looking messages from people you do know. Having strong, lengthy passwords will also help protect you, as will avoiding the same one for all log-ins.
With a combination of both anti-malware software and the best online practices, you can protect yourself from falling victim to keyloggers. And if you are targeted, know you’ll be aware of the signs to watch for, and become more in tune with when you should run an antivirus scan.