What Are Keyloggers and How Can You Avoid Them?

What Are Keyloggers and How Can You Avoid Them?

Dennis Snider

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Keyloggers have emerged as one of the most damaging pieces of malware. These loggers track every key that’s pressed on your keyboard, meaning that your private messages, passwords, and other sensitive information appears in plain text to the hacker.
It’s important to protect yourself, and the first step is knowledge. Here’s a deeper dive into what these keyloggers are and how you can protect yourself.
What is a keylogger?
The word “keylogger” is a compound, short for keystroke logger. Keyloggers can be both hardware and software, and they record what a person writes on their keyboard.
Software is the most common type, but small physical devices can also be connected to a computer or device. If a keylogger is successfully installed, the hacker will have access to important information:

  • Usernames and passwords
  • Credit card numbers and financial information
  • Private chat history
  • The documents you’ve used
  • The applications you’ve opened
  • A history of your web activity

Removing a keylogger
It can be difficult to even detect a keylogger, let alone remove it. The most common steps that you can take are:

  1. Use the Task Manager to examine processes and look for unknown or suspicious processes. This step is only really useful to tech-savvy people who can differentiate between the myriad processes that will be running at any one time.
  2. Check the activity log that’s maintained by your firewall. If you have an idea of what is going in and out of your computer, you’ll see if your data has been sent to a remote location.
  3. Use antivirus software to scan and remove keyloggers and other viruses. This is the easiest way for most people and also one of the most reliable. There are lots of alternatives out there on the market, and many of them are free.

Preventing keyloggers from taking hold
Prevention is the best method of protection. There are a range of steps you can take to protect yourself and your device from keyloggers:

  1. Use antivirus software that can protect you from malware in real-time.
  2. Use firewalls that stop unauthorized applications from using the internet.
  3. Lock your PC or laptop when you’re not using it.
  4. Be conscious of who accesses your computer in public spaces.
  5. Use a password manager to avoid having to type passwords.

These tips will help you to avoid keyloggers and keep your data safe.

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