A keylogger is a program which records in a file the characters typed in from the keyboard. The file is for the later perusal by the one who installed the program. It quietly runs in the background and is usually undetectable. Some keyloggers just record keystrokes, while others go as far as capturing screenshots. Whether simple or sophisticated, a keylogger is akin to a spy, stealthily gathering information on someone’s activities on the computer.
It’s a common tool in the field of law enforcement, used for obtaining passwords to crucial data that might be pertinent to maintaining security. However, the keylogger has transcended that role. It is now utilized everywhere, even by the average computer user. With the proliferation of pornography and perverts online, parents are understandably concerned about their children’s surfing habits. A keylogger helps them find out if their children have been going to porn sites or chatting with possible pedophiles. Aside from parents, spouses are also using keyloggers to check if their partner is cheating on them. Chat transcripts and email messages are used as proof of infidelity if it exists. For other users, a keylogger is essential in protecting computers containing sensitive files by making sure that no one has unauthorized access.
Many people claim that using a keylogger is a violation of one’s right to privacy, regardless of the intentions of the one who installed it. It’s a controversial issue, and it seems it won’t be settled soon. The act of spying is already deemed questionable, and it doesn’t help that a keylogger is a double-edged sword. In the wrong hands, it can be very destructive tool.
A keylogger is often a component of trojans, which are malicious programs disguised as useful and harmless applications that download themselves into your computer. Once installed, the attackers who orchestrated the whole scheme gain access to your passwords, credit card numbers, online payment processor accounts, to name just a few. Since a keylogger is often undetectable, you aren’t able to figure out why you’re getting billed for purchases you never made. You know something is wrong, but you are unable to point a finger at anyone. In effect, your identity is stolen from you (hence the term identity theft), and you don’t even know who did it. If something isn’t done about it soon enough, you’ll end up deep in debt.
Manual removal of a keylogger brought about by a trojan is a tricky business, as it penetrates deep into your system and finds nooks and crannies to hide in. This leaves the victim frustrated and desperate. It all sounds like a thrilling Orwellian movie, but it’s happening in real life. Fortunately, there are a lot of anti-spyware removal tools that can get rid of keyloggers. There are even applications which are exclusively used for the removal of keyloggers. Keep in mind, though, that some of these programs are rogue software, which means they are masquerading as effective applications, but in reality they bring in more malware (malicious software) in your computer.
It’s your responsibility to research on various products to determine the most trustworthy and effective. You might end up shelling out a bit of money, but with the right software, you’re not only protecting your finances, but your identity as well.