How Do You Tell If Your System Is Infected with a Keylogger?

A keylogger is a hardware or software that tracks and logs the keys struck on a keyboard, often secretly. More high-tech keyloggers can also capture screenshots and are often controversially used by parents on their family computers and devices to monitor their children.

Keyloggers also have legal uses. For instance, businesses install keyloggers on company computers to enforce rules and shield themselves from industrial espionage. Likewise, law enforcement officials armed with warrants silently install hardware keyloggers on suspects’ computers to build cases against them.

Overall, keyloggers have a negative reputation because unsavory people use them as malicious software. For instance, jealous lovers use keyloggers to stalk partners, corporate spies use keyloggers to commit industrial espionage, and draconian states use keyloggers to track activists and journalists. Petty crooks also use keyloggers to steal work, financial data, passwords, and other sensitive information.

What Are the Signs of a Software Keylogger?

Depending on the malware’s quality and nature, a keylogger displays very few indications, if any. Here are a few signs of a software keylogger on your computer:
• Your keystrokes are somewhat less responsive than usual
• Your system is a little sluggish
• Some of your programs are crashing
• You notice new icons on your desktop
• You find new files and folders on your computer
• There are mysterious new processes in your system
• Certain programs such as browsers and banking apps open later than usual
• There are unexplained pop-ups that open and close quickly and randomly

To shield your system from software keyloggers and other malware, use a malware antivirus program that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to crush keylogger threats, and also blocks popular keylogger delivery mechanisms such as phishing scams, online scams, infected websites, malicious links, and fake websites.

What Are the Signs of a Hardware Keylogger?

Unlike a software keylogger, a hardware keylogger is physically traceable, which makes it easier to find. The simplest hardware keylogger comes in the shape of a PS/2 or USB device. It’s usually plugged inline between your keyboard and the back of your computer. Criminals prefer these keyloggers because they’re cost-effective and fast to install. However, they’re also the easiest hardware keyloggers to detect.
If you suspect a keylogger attack, follow the cable from your keyboard to your computer to look for suspicious devices. If you find one, either remove it immediately or, if you’re feeling bold, wait for it to be collected. Usually, criminals physically retrieve such keyloggers for data collection because the devices typically lack WiFi capabilities.

Meanwhile, PCI card keyloggers with on-board flash memories are challenging for criminals to install and retrieve because they require time and expertise to deploy. However, they’re also challenging for the average computer user to find for the same reasons.

More sophisticated hardware keyloggers are pre-installed inside keyboards, flash drives, and other peripherals. These keyloggers are more difficult for criminals to deploy because they’re so obvious. To protect yourself from such devices, be wary of tech gifts from strangers or potential abusers, and don’t use untrustworthy computers. 
To guard yourself against keylogger threats, use good cybersecurity software, adopt sensible habits, and stay wary of risks on the Internet and in real life.