What is Keylogger? How Does It Work?

In Cybersecurity News - Original News Source is cybersecuritynews.com by Blog Writer

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Keylogger is a malicious computer program that records everything you type on the keyboard, learns the keystroke pattern, including words, characters, and symbols, and sends all the recorded details to the malicious hackers.

A keylogger attack occurs when someone uses a keylogger to record keystrokes without the user’s knowledge or consent.

This can be done through various methods, such as infecting a computer with malware that includes a keylogger or installing a hardware keylogger between the keyboard and the computer.

But technically, keyloggers are software. There has been a misconception that Keyloggers are always used for criminal purposes. In reality, Keyloggers have professional and legal usage also.

Imagine an invisible camera above your keyboard that records everything you type and sends it to the person who kept it. These are called as Keyloggers.

It can be used by parents who want to monitor their children’s activities or Companies that want to monitor their employees from doing malicious activities.

Keyloggers are sometimes enclosed with other malware like trojans, worms or viruses. This stealthy software can analyze your keystrokes and predict what you are typing on the computer.

Keyloggers can be particularly dangerous because they can capture information from all applications and websites, including banking and financial sites, social media accounts, and email.

Once the attacker has access to this information, they can use it for fraudulent activities or even sell it on the black market.

Keylogger Infographic Pic: Cybersecuritynews.com

Some critical functions of keyloggers are:

Record keystrokes: Keyloggers are designed to capture every keystroke the user makes, including passwords, email messages, and other sensitive information.

Monitor online activities: Keyloggers can monitor the user’s online activities, including websites visited, chat conversations, and emails sent and received.

Capture screenshots: Some advanced keyloggers can capture screenshots of the user’s computer screen, providing a visual record of their activities.

Log applications used: Keyloggers can also log the applications and programs used by the user, including the date and time they were accessed.

Remote access: Some keyloggers can provide remote access to the captured data, allowing the attacker to view the logs remotely.

Steal sensitive information: Keyloggers can steal sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card details, and other personal information.

For instance, if you are typing fb.com or facebook.com, you will next enter your credentials. This way, the keylogger will store the rest of the keystrokes as “username” and “password”.

Keyloggers are very hard to detect when you are a normal computer user. They are responsible for lots of password stealing, credit card hijacking, and other major malicious activities.

Type of Keyloggers

Hardware Keyloggers: Devices attached to our computer will act as a keylogger and collect information about the specified target.

Software keyloggers: These are probably malicious programs that cannot infect your system but still steal your passwords, account details, etc.

Wireless Keyloggers: These are similar to hardware keyloggers but use wireless technology such as Bluetooth to transmit captured keystrokes to a remote location.

Remote Access Trojans (RATs): These malicious software programs allow an attacker to remotely control a computer or device, including capturing keystrokes entered on the keyboard.

Kernel Keyloggers: These software programs are installed at the kernel level of an operating system, allowing them to capture keystrokes before they are encrypted or hidden by other software.

Acoustic Keyloggers: These tools use the sound of keystrokes to capture what is being typed. They can work without any physical connection to the target device but require specialized hardware to capture the sound waves.

It’s worth noting that while keyloggers can be helpful for legitimate purposes, such as monitoring employee activity or parental control, they can also be used for illegal and malicious activities, such as stealing passwords or financial information. It’s essential to use them responsibly and with all parties consent.

How does Keylogger work?

Just like any other malicious program that sends its reports to the attackers, keyloggers also send information about keystrokes that a victim enters in his/her keyboard to its creator or a remote server or a specified email address.

Keyloggers are hidden so deep that even some antivirus programs can’t detect them. Professionally designed keyloggers get embedded with the operating system kernel, making it too difficult to detect by antiviruses. Keyloggers are of the most dangerous and stealthy.

How to Protect From Keyloggers?

  • Do not download any attachments from unknown websites.
  • Keep your AntiVirus software updated.
  • Use Virtual Keyboards, which will prevent typing keystrokes.
  • Use Two-Factor Authentication Methods on essential sites.
  • User firewall and password manager.

Also Read:

What is SYN Attack? How the Attack works and How to Prevent the SYN Attack

What is a Dictionary Attack? How the Attack works and How to Prevent the Dictionary Attack