What is Keystroke logging, often referred to as keylogging?

So, what is keylogging and what is the best defense? Besides employing social engineering tactics and setting up phishing websites, hackers and cybercriminals make use of keylogging software to steal passwords and confidential information. Let us start with the basics:

What is a Keylog App?

A keylog app is an application that records keystrokes or keys that you type into the keyboard and then will send the information over the internet to the waiting culprit to use as they wish. Passwords, credit card numbers, confidential messages and other information have been reported as being recorded and retrieved by cybercriminals when you type to them on an infected device. A keylogging app captures all the user typed data sent between the keyboard (or input device) and the computer’s operating system capturing the information. It is typically designed to operate in a covert manner and is very small which allows it to avoid detection.

Hackers use keylogging apps to simplify and accelerate their work. The keylog app quickly steals Your password not just to your computer but to every software application you access with it, giving hackers access to your banking and email accounts. With this power they might choose to lock you out and demand a ransom in return for access.

It may not end there. They could steal your money or use information found to blackmail you or members of your family. They can even deceive your friends and colleagues at work or family members in more complex identity theft schemes.

How are keylogging software programs distributed?

  • Keylog apps can be installed when a user clicks on an image or link or opens an attachment/file from a phishing mail or social media posting.

  • Keylog apps can be installed through a web-page script by exploiting a vulnerable browser which launches the keylog app while visiting the malicious website.

  • Keylog apps can be installed via flash drives

  • A keylog app might also be sophisticated enough to download and install other malware onto the system.

How Does Keylog Apps Access What You Type?

Cybercriminals must employ illegal methods to deliver keylog apps to computers. For instance, hackers can distribute a keylog app on peer-to-peer networks or include one as a file attachment to a phishing email. Anyone unwise enough to open the file becomes victimized. Hackers can exploit browser and operating system vulnerabilities to infect outdated systems. Basically, methods that hackers use to spread other malicious programs can also be used to spread Keylog apps.

Keylog apps are sophisticated programs developed by knowledgeable developers. Within little code they are able to access very secured and reserved areas of RAM memory where the operating system stores and buffers the keyboard input and output, without disturbing normal operations and causing errors. It then stores the stolen information, usually in XML format, in an undetectable manner and sends it off once the user is back on their internet browser.

How Do You Detect a Keylog App on Your Computer?

It is reasonable to feel concerned, perhaps even paranoid because it is possible your keystrokes are being monitored right now. As of now, the only ways to detect a keylog app is very expensive and very invasive which doesn’t make it practical to use widely. It is typical for a keylog app to remain undetected recording keystrokes until the ultimate financial and identity thefts or extortion attempts are successful.

A computer infected by keylog app may show general symptoms of malware infection. These symptoms include:

Web browsers loading at a slower rate than usual.

The mouse and keyboard behaving abnormally.

Error messages appearing frequently.

These symptoms may or may not manifest, or only become apparent after a period of time allowing the keylog app to send valuable information to hackers and unauthorized users. This means preventing a keylog app from infecting your computer is the only way to protect yourself.

How Do You Protect Yourself From a Keylog App Attack?

Keylogging apps are undetectable by antivirus and malware detection software. The most effective way to stop keylog apps is to install a keyboard encryption program, such as GuardedID®, that stops keylogging programs by encrypting keystroke data and routing it directly to your internet browser or to desktop applications through a secure pathway invisible to keylog apps.

Keystroke data flows through a series of steps before it appears on your monitor. Hidden in these steps is a vulnerability where cyber criminals are able to use their keylogging spyware. GuardedID® bypasses and secures the places keylog apps reside, eliminating the vulnerability to attack. As a second level of security, GuardedID® secures the new pathway created with military-grade 256-bit encryption code. So as far as the keylog app can tell GuardedID® only sends out a sequence of meaningless numbers in place of your keystrokes, making any data collected by hackers completely useless.

SpaceCycles CSI 2020

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