Keylogging is the act of recording people’s keyboard interactions on the various devices they use like laptops, smartphones etc. While ethical keylogging exists, cybercriminals also use keylogging to steal others’ personal information. As in legal keylogging, they employ a keylogger, also called a keystroke logger, which is a type of software or hardware that stores or keeps a log of what all keys you pressed. In the wrong hands, it could be used to steal your sensitive information online like usernames and passwords, credit card information and used for stalking, even. We will focus on illegal keylogging in this article.
A keylogger malware can arrive and implant itself into your system in various ways like phishing emails, Trojans, fake websites, zero day exploits etc. If we talk about hardware-based keyloggers, one example can be the keyboard overlay on an ATM. Usually, software-based keylogger attacks are more common.
How to prevent keylogger malware from entering your devices
Here are a few ways to stay safe from a keylogger malware:

  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) so that you have the surety that only you are going to log in to your account.

  • Avoid downloading files from suspicious sources and don’t click on links without checking what’s in the url.

  • Use a virtual keyboard when entering banking credentials and other sensitive passwords. This prevents you from using a physical keyboard which may have been compromised.

  • You can also use voice-to-text conversion software to avoid typing on your keyboard.

  • Use a paid antivirus solution to shield yourself from cyberattacks. Look for ones that come with anti-keylogger functionality.

How to detect and remove keyloggers
Signs of a keylogger malware in your system are that your PC/smartphone may start heating up and/or slowing down, some processes may fail abruptly, new icons may appear on system tray or desktop, opening an application or pop up make take unusually long, etc. Here’s how to find the infected file:

  • Check the softwares you have installed carefully. You might spot one which you didn’t install and chances are it is a keylogger malware that sneaked past your system’s defences.

  • Check your browser extensions. If you find something there which you didn’t install, remove it.

  • Run a full system scan using your antivirus if it has not found the malware already.

  • If you strongly think that a particular software in your system might be a keylogger, proceed with caution. If it is safe to delete the software, do it. Or else, try to disable or uninstall it.

  • Take a backup of the most important files and do a factory reset if you are still suspicious about a keylogger being in your system after having tried everything.