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Keystroke logger (keylogger) At the mention of keylogger, many people think of it as a malware which is harmful to computer. What’s a keylogger? We also call keyloggers keystroke loggers. It can be a hardware device such as USB keylogger or software that monitors all keystrokes typed on computer’s keyboard.

Hardware Keylogger Hardware keyloggers are generally used via a device plugged between computer keyboard and computer. This device is also helps when people plug it into the back of the computer in workplaces. This device is able to monitor user’s behaviors by physically hide the device in computer. It can record all keystrokes and save it as text format in its hard drive. Owing to the function of recording all keystrokes, it can also track sent emails, chat contents, instant messages, website address, etc. The functions of hardware keylogger can be divides into three points: 1. Need no installation; you just need to plug it to the computer. 2. Able to capture all keystrokes, including “Ctrl + C”, “Alt + F” and “Ctrl + Alt + Delete”. 3. Impossible to be detected by other software. Another advantage of hardware keylogger is that it can begin logging keystrokes when a computer is turned on, which enables it to intercept password for the BIOS or disk encryption software. However, the disadvantage of this kind of keyloggers may annoy people a lot. Person who installed the keylogger must retrieve and physically remove it in order to access the logs in the device. This disadvantage make hardware keylogger a risky tool, for camera surveillance or the review of access card swipe records can helps other people determine who gained physical access to the area during the time period that the keylogger was removed.

Software Keylogger Software keyloggers don’t need physical access to target user’s computer; it works on the target computer’s operating system. Almost all keylogger software has function of remote access, which means it allows


user to access the local records from a remote location. How does the remote access do that? Some update the data to a website, database or FTP server. Some automatically email the logs to pre-defined email address based on the preset time interval. Some even allow remote login to the local machine via the Internet or the LAN. This may become one of keylogger software advantages, which helps user to capture target computer’s information without depending on physical access to target user’s computer. And the features of keylogger software are as follows: 1. Keystroke logging: able to record all keystrokes typed in the keyboard after the computer turns on. 2. Clipboard logging: all operations occurred in clipboard such as copy, paste, etc. can be captured. 3. Screenshots logging: able to snap screenshots based on the time intervals. 4. Applications logging: some keylogger software can record applications running on the computer with program name, time, etc. Also some keylogger software has added features, such as visited websites record, or parental control functions. Compared to hardware keyloggers, one of most significant advantages of keylogger software is it needs no direct physical access of target computer.

What can a keylogger do? Keylogger, often referred to as keystroke logger or key logger, is a kind of hardware or software that can be used to record or log the keys struck on keyboard. It’s mainly used to monitor keystrokes in a covert situation that the person who is monitored can’t be aware of the logging action. Some malicious individuals may use keyloggers to other people’s computers to steal their personal information, such as credit card password. Such kind of people always put keyloggers into malware packages, and it will be installed into victims’ computer when they download the package. Detecting the presence of keyloggers is very difficult. However, keyloggers also has very legitimate uses; for example, IT organizations will use keyloggers to troubleshoot technical problems of computer or network. For those who tend to type article or other texts on computer, keyloggers can be used as backup tool to record all keystrokes typed on the computer. And the keyloggers with more features such as parental control can be used by a family to monitor Internet use. Now why do so many people feel upset with keyloggers? It’s always used on purpose by some person who wants to steal other people’s information or privacy, or it will be downloaded as spyware or Trojan horse to record every keystroke and upload to person who set the spyware via Internet.


Inclusion: Although keyloggers will be used by those who embrace bad purpose to steal victims’ personal information or data, people can also use it to manage or control employee or children’s computer use. Owing to the potential abuse of keyloggers, some privacy advocates promote legislation should be enacted to limit the use of keyloggers. Every coin has two sides; we can’t ignore the advantages brought about by keyloggers, while we definitely need to legally use it. For example, if you use it as employee management tool, you must make related regulations and rule about it, and remind staffs before you use it. App you may need: http://www.anykeylogger.com


Keystroke logger