Keyloggers are a common and effective tool cybercriminals use to get confidential information. This type of malware is dangerous because most people won’t notice its existence until their credit card details or passwords have been exposed.

Read on to learn more about how these malicious programs work and what you should do to protect yourself.

What Are Keyloggers?

Keyloggers are spyware programs designed to record and capture keystrokes of a computer system. This can mean every word you have typed in with your keyboard. The information these programs collect can then be sent to their owners for further analysis.

A user typing on a keyboard
Keyloggers monitor and capture every keyboard input.

Legitimate uses for keylogging do exist. Many companies deploy employee-monitoring software. In this corporate setting, keyloggers are an essential surveillance tool.

They can help IT departments troubleshoot issues with the organization’s computer systems. When issues come up, they can check keyboard inputs to investigate them. Management can also keep track of apps their employees use and how much time they spend on them. As long as employees give their consent, this common form of workplace monitoring is legal.

However, keyloggers can become a dangerous tool when they fall in the wrong hands. In fact, malicious keylogging programs are one of the greatest security threats internet users face.

Bad actors usually infect computer systems and silently install a keylogger there. This spyware can pick up everything the victim enters through the keyboard.

This may be just some Google search queries and chat messages between friends. But given enough time, these keyloggers can have a more intimate look into the victim’s digital life. The sensitive information they capture may include credit cards, login credentials, and other information.

Keyloggers can secretly send those keystrokes to the hackers in the background without your knowledge. This crucial data allows them to take over your accounts and steal your money. Bad actors can also expose your personal information or sell it to data brokers.

What makes keyloggers so big of a threat is that it can be hard to detect them. Without proper tools, these malware programs can keep logging your keyboard inputs for weeks and months. It could be too late when you find out the existence of a keylogger on your system.

How Hackers May Infect Keyloggers On Your System

The most common attack paths are phishing and breaching. Hackers may send fake emails to victims, including an attachment or link infected by a keylogger. They can also create a fraudulent website to host programs or documents that may look like authentic and harmless files.

Image of a fish, a letter, and a hook representing the keylogger attack method
Phishing is a common tactic hackers use to distribute keyloggers.

But when a victim clicks and downloads them, they have opened the door for the keylogger into their system. To stay undetected, the spyware tries to disguise itself as a normal application.

At the end of the day, legal keystroke-logging software is common. Malicious keyloggers can refrain from doing anything suspicious that can make them stand out. But in the background, they are stealing away your personal information.

How To Prevent Keyloggers

Here are some tips on keeping your systems free from keyloggers. Following the best practices below can not just reduce the risk of this particular form of spyware but also help you avoid other threats. They aren’t totally foolproof. But at least you dodge the vast majority of mistakes others are making.

Keep Your System Up-to-date

Form the habit of updating your devices, including their operating systems and all other apps. Being proactive about this makes sure your programs have the most secure versions.

Outdated software usually contains bugs that developers have patched in newer versions. Builders of hacking tools often target them to sneak malware into these systems.

You don’t need to check for updates on a daily basis. All popular platforms have automatic updating features that you can enable once and forget about it. Draw up a schedule, such as every Sunday, if you want to do so manually.

Some severe vulnerabilities may receive widespread media attention. Software makers often urge users to update their software as soon as possible in these cases, including other steps to minimize the threats. Follow technology news sites and your device vendor’s media pages to keep yourself posted on these matters.

Be Aware Of Common Phishing Tactics

Phishing is as old as the internet itself. But people keep falling for those tricks because they are aware of and well-prepared to detect them.

It is super easy to create a deceive email or website that comes from a familiar name. Stay cautious about stuff that bears the name and logo of a bank, social media provider, or another brand.

Train your eyes so you can notice between authentic and fake domains. Any message that tells you to reset your password or congratulates you on a “big prize” deserves extra attention. Stop for a moment and examine the address to make sure it actually belongs to your existing provider.

Watch out for email attachments from a strange contact. They may try to dupe you into believing you are just opening a normal Word or pdf document. But these files are also a well-known attack vector of keyloggers.

Avoid downloading pirated software and media. Most of them come from untrusted sources. Bad actors can insert malware into these downloads because they understand people want to have them for free. And those moments are when they have their guard down the most.

Use Security Tools

Sometimes even common sense can’t be good enough to protect yourself from keyloggers. A trusted source could be exploited to infect devices connected to it. For instance, hackers may take over your friend’s Facebook account and send keyloggers to their contacts through comments or direct messaging.

A computer running an anti-malware program
Use anti-malware programs to scan your devices.

Many anti-malware applications have anti-spyware capabilities to fight off unwanted keylogging programs. They can scan your web browsers and email clients for harmful files.

You should also maintain a regular scanning schedule to pick up malware that has slipped through your hard drives. Make sure to keep your anti-malware up-to-date and stay in the background all the time when possible.

Use Password Managers

Keylogging prevention is one of the unintended benefits of password managers like Locker.

Keyloggers can only capture what you type onto your keyboard. Now that you no longer have to enter your logins manually, your keystroke information doesn’t contain your passwords. In this case, password managers render any keylogging program useless.

Install Locker To Protect Yourself From Keyloggers

With Locker, you don’t need to type every character of your password or credit card number anymore. Even when your devices have been infected with keyloggers, Locker can reduce their effectiveness. The keystrokes they can capture should no longer contain your sensitive information.

The Autofill feature is also available on all plans, which is better from both usability and security perspectives. Just click or tap on the login fields, and Locker will offer to fill all of them for you. There are even fewer keystrokes to monitor. And it doesn’t rely on your device’s clipboard, which can be tracked by keyloggers as well.

Additionally, Locker supports multi-factor authentication, like both one-time passwords and biometrics.

Keyloggers can intercept your credentials. But they are useless against secret codes with expiration or non-text factors like these. Enable them with Locker, and you will have another layer of defense against bad actors.

A Facebook login field
Locker can eliminate the need for typing with autofill.

Register and install Locker on your devices today to fend off these keystroke stealing attempts!