More readily associated with and attributed to the seedy, criminal underbelly of the internet, keylogger software is something of a folk devil in our society not to mention one that is woefully misunderstood. For those of us who are not already familiar with keylogger technology (whether as a concept or on an individualistic basis), then it functions in the following manner.
Whenever a keylogger program is installed on a computer system, it will install itself within the kernel of the operating system so as to minimize the risks of being detected and whilst there, it will then proceed to record any and all keystrokes that are inputted by the computer user.
What this means in practical terms then is that whenever a person types something within the computer, whether it be a letter on Microsoft Word or their personal password to gain access to the online bank account, the keylogger will record and note it all.
The reason that keyloggers tend to have something of a sinister nature is that they are a favored weapon of choice among hackers and online criminals by virtue of the fact that these programs better enable the hacker to then steal the login details of the victim…..thereby allowing them to then make unauthorized financial transactions.
However it is worth noting that there are entirely innocent and legitimate uses of such software, and some of these are as follows.
- Parents who want to monitor conversations that their children have with people on the internet.
- Employers/business owners who want to monitor their staff to ensure that they are abusing and misusing workplace resources for personal use when they should be working.
- Law enforcement agencies in situations were there is reasonable grounds to believe that there is unlawful activity being conducted/communicated via computers.
If we were to choose a keylogger program what traits would the user be advised to look out for?
- Stealthy: the keylogger that remains undetected and invisible to prying eyes is a rare and valuable commodity indeed.
- Remote reporting abilities: keyloggers which can transmit information via email to a remote location will enable the computer administrator to access information from any computer.