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What is the best defense against keylogging?

chris-m By Chris Mallazzo Manager, Solution Architecture, Ace Computers

So what is keylogging and what is the best defense? Besides employing social engineering tactics and setting up phishing websites, hackers and cybercriminals make use of keylogging apps to steal passwords and confidential information. Let’s start with the basics:

What is a Keylogging?

A keylogger is a software app that records keystrokes or keys that you press on a keyboard. Passwords, credit card numbers, confidential messages and other information are at risk of being recorded and retrieved by a cybercriminal when you type them on a keyboard of a compromised computer. A keylogger basically position itself between the keyboard (or input device) and the computer’s operating system in order to capture information. It’s typically designed to operate in a covert manner to avoid detection.

Keylogging apps can be used by hackers for all kinds of nefarious purposes. By stealing your password, hackers can access your banking and email accounts and lock you out. They can use your information to steal your money and blackmail you. They can deceive your friends, colleagues at work and family members as part of identity theft schemes.

How are keylogging apps distributed?

  • Keyloggers can be installed when a user clicks on a link or opens an attachment/file from a phishing mail
  • Keyloggers can be installed through webpage script. This is done by exploiting a vulnerable browser and the keylogger is launched when the user visits the malicious website.
  • A keylogger can be installed when a user opens a file attached to an email
  • A keylogger can be installed via a web page script which exploits a browser vulnerability. The program will automatically be launched when a user visits an infected site
  • A keylogger can exploit an infected system and is sometimes capable to download and install other malware to the system.
  • How Does a Keylogger Gain Access to What You Type?

    Hackers and cyber criminals, must employ illegal methods to force keyloggers into computers. For instance, hackers can distribute a keylogger on peer-to-peer networks or include one as a file attachment to a phishing email. Anyone unwise enough to open the file becomes victimized. Hackers can exploit browser and operating system vulnerabilities to infect outdated systems. Basically, methods that hackers use to spread other malicious programs can also be used to spread Keyloggers.

    How Do You Know if a Keylogger Is Installed in a Computer?

    It’s okay to feel a bit paranoid, because it’s entirely possible that someone is monitoring your keystrokes. Sadly, there’s no reliable way to confirm your suspicion. It’s typical for a keylogger to remain undetected while it records your keyboard strokes. However, a computer with a keylogger installed may show symptoms as if it were infected by malware. These symptoms include websites loading at a slower rate than usual, your mouse and keyboard behaving abnormally, and error messages appearing frequently. Note that these symptoms tend to manifest long after a keylogger has infected the computer and sent valuable information to hackers and unauthorized users. The wise thing to do when it comes to a keylogger is to know how to protect yourself.

    How Do You Prevent a Keylogger Attack and Protect Yourself?

    Your basic protection against keyloggers does not come from your antivirus software. Keylogging apps are undetectable by such software. The most effective way to stop keyloggers is to use a keyboard encryption program, such as GuardedID®, that stops malicious keylogging programs by encrypting keystroke data and routing it directly to your internet browser or desktop through a secure pathway that’s invisible to keyloggers.

    Traditional keystroke data flows through a series of steps before it appears on your monitor. Hidden in these steps is an area of vulnerability where cyber criminals try to take advantage using keylogging spyware. GuardedID® bypasses the places keyloggers can reside, helping to eliminate your vulnerability to attack. As a second level of security, GuardedID® protects the pathway it creates with a military-grade 256-bit encryption code. GuardedID® also sends out a sequence of meaningless numbers in place of your keystrokes, making any data collected by hackers completely useless.


 

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