It is crucial to know about keyloggers as they play a significant role in the world of cybersecurity. Often, computers and smartphones show several signs when they get infected with a keylogger. This post lists a few such noticeable signs and symptoms (indicators of infection) of keylogger infections on computers and smartphones. And also we are going to tell all about the ‘key loggers.’ What is a keylogger, how does it work, how does it get infected, and different types of key loggers, and many more.
What Is Keylogger?
A video about keyloggers from TechTarget Youtube channel
A keylogger is either a software program or hardware device which is designed to capture, store and share the user’s keystrokes with others for any reason. Keyloggers can be used for a variety of reasons. Hackers use keyloggers to steal the victim’s personal or confidential information like bank details, username,s and passwords. On the other hand, keyloggers can be used by admins for monitoring and troubleshooting activities. Let’s see how it works in the next section.
How Does Keylogger Work?
Keyloggers work like a surveillance camera. It captures each key that you enter like a person sitting behind you and watching all your activities and stores those keystrokes locally or sends them to a remote place. In addition to the keystrokes, New loggers are loading with more and more capabilities. Some new loggers can capture screenshots, web camera pictures, and audio from the microphone. Send all the captured data to a remotely sitting operator over the internet or just store it in its local storage database.
How Keyloggers Send The Data?
It’s up to how the keyloggers are designed to send the data. It’s purely subjective. We can list some of the standard methods keyloggers have been using to share the data.
- Most loggers upload the data to a website, FTP server, database, or remote storage place.
- Sending data through emails are also quite often.
- Hardware variant of keyloggers mostly stores the data instead of sharing them.
Are Key Loggers Legal To Use?
Whenever someone hears the word ‘key logger,’ it sounds more like malware. And that is true in most cases. As we said in the earlier section, key loggers are mostly used for malicious intent, but there are someplace where it is being used for a useful purpose.
Use of keyloggers in supervision activities:
One such useful purpose: monitor children’s activities. Keyloggers can be used as Parenting applications designed to monitor children’s activities on the internet to save them from being distracted.
Let’s give you another instance; Large-sized corporations use keyloggers in information technology departments to troubleshoot technical problems on their systems and networks. Or keep an eye on employees surreptitiously.
Additionally, keyloggers are the most obvious thing in the ethical hacking area too.
In all such cases, where you buy and use the key logger on your devices are perfectly legal. There are plenty of products that are sold on the internet these days.
Use of loggers to spy:
But, when the significant concerns begin when the bad guys start using the keyloggers with criminal intent. Criminals try to install a keylogger on others’ machines without the owner’s knowledge and try spying on them to grab their personal and confidential information to sell on the dark web for profit. In the next section, we see how hackers infect keyloggers to your computer and smartphone.
How Can Computers And Smartphones Get Infected By a Keylogger?
Hackers use multiple ways to infect keyloggers depending on the keylogger’s feature set. Hardware modules are easy to host if the hacker doesn’t have a physical barrier. Most of them are plug-and-play. But, you should have physical access to the targeted machine. On the other hand, the software version of keylogger has multiple routes to enter. Here is the list:
- Infected links: Keylogging malware can be delivered to the victim using compromised websites.
- Phishing scams: It’s often to use social engineering techniques such as phishing to deliver the keylogging malware.
- Unauthorized Sources: Public resources, like app stores, application download centers, and code repositories like GitHub are also good sources to distribute keyloggers.
- Supply chain attack: Attackers could hide keyloggers inside the operating system and software updates received over the internet.
- Untrusted third-party: Computers and smartphones get keylogger infection by downloading applications from untrusted third-party sites, and attachments from untrusted emails.
After looking at some common ways, keylogger gets infected. Let’s go ahead and see the common signs of keylogger infection.
What Are The Common Signs Of Keylogger Infection?
Both computers and smartphones indicate several signs and symptoms when they get infected with a keylogger. Let’s list some of the characters which would help in detecting the keylogger after getting infected:
Common Signs And Symptoms Of Keylogger Infection In Computers:
- Suspicious Hardware: There are two types of hardware modules are there. External and Internal or Embedded. External Hardware modules are easy to spot. Because they are connected to the external ports and visible to the eyes, you need to recognize them. On the other hand, it’s tricky to detect the embedded keyloggers. The most common sign to catch them is system behavior:
- Unknown process: Software Keyloggers are also an application like others. It runs in the operating system like other processes. Check all active processes running on the computer and validate them.
- Keyboard and mouse malfunction: You may experience your mouse and keyboards behaving out of your control. As like your mouse pointer disappeared at one place and went to a different point without your actions. Similarly, your keyboard course moves intermittently without your action.
- System performance issues: You may feel that your computer becomes less responsive or slow in running programs and loading websites. Some key loggers would kill your system performance by eating up more resources.
- Program Errors: Throw unexpected errors and program interruptions sometimes, and you may see your system reboot on its own.
- Alerts from antivirus applications: Antimalware applications on the devices trigger alerts when they find keyloggers on the devices.
Common Signs And Symptoms Of Keylogger Infection In Smartphones:
- Delayed Typing: Smartphone keyboards become less responsive.
- High resource utilization: Smartphones start utilizing high RAM than usual.
- Camera and microphone malfunction: The smartphone launches its camera by itself, takes pictures, and the microphone covertly starts recording.
- Enormous heat generation: Stars heat more than usual and dramatic drop in battery charge.
- Program Errors: Applications disappear on their own, stop responding, and close on their own. Reboot on its own.
After seeing the common signs of keylogger infection on computers and smartphones, see the best practice to remove the keyloggers from computers and smartphones.
How To Detect And Remove A Keylogger Infection?
After noticing the signs and symptoms of keylogger infection, it is essential to detect to remove it from the devices. There are two main ways to confirm the presence of keyloggers.
- Anti-virus & anti-keylogger application: These applications are designed to detect malware like viruses, worms, Trojans, ATPs, ransomware, exploit kits, rootkits, and spyware on the computer and smartphone, which detect the presence of a keylogger program on the computer and smartphone. Visit the page to know the best antivirus for your device.
- Manual analysis: Check the active running process on the computer, trace the active network connection using programs like Netstat, Verify the installed programs on both computer and smartphone, and monitor the resource utilization.
If you are confirmed with keylogger infections, then it is time to react and remove the keylogger on your device. Here are the six such reactive approaches listed to minimize the impact of keyloggers on computers and smartphones.
- Monitor process utilization: Use some monitoring tools on the smartphone to monitor the resources. And, there are plenty of ways there to do this on computers.
- Keep antivirus protection up to date: Use a good antivirus program and always keep the definitions up to date.
- Manage Hardware access: Don’t merely give access to all the applications on the smartphone. Disable the admin account on the computer and enable all the security features on both devices.
- Use an anti-keylogger application if possible.
- Remove PUP programs: Try identifying and uninstalling the Potentially Unwanted Programs from the computer and smartphone.
Before knowing the reactive approach, it’s better to follow a proactive approach to remain away from reinfections. Read the below section to know more about the proactive approach.
How To Prevent Keylogger Infection?
Always pay attention to the signs and symptoms of keylogger infections. There is no guarantee of reinfections. As a proactive action, here are the most common measures to counter the keyloggers before getting infected again:
- Awareness is the key. You should gain some knowledge about the key loggers and how they look. What are they up to?
- Use a good antivirus program and run scans from time to time.
- Don’t download anything from untrusted websites; don’t open untrusted emails and attachments.
- Keep your system and application up to date.
After all, there is another aspect of the keylogger to tell. This post doesn’t conclude without touching on the topic — of types of keyloggers.
What Are The Different Types Of Keyloggers?
Key loggers come in many forms, both hardware and software variants. Both have their pros and cons to each other. Let’s take one after each of them. Before that, We want you to know all the possible types of loggers used these days.
Five common types of keyloggers:
- Hardware Keylogger module: Hardware keyloggers looks more or less like typical small-size USB pen drives. These devices sit right between your computer and keyboard to intercept the key signals that you enter on the keyboard. It’s easy to detect if you pay a little attention to all your external USB ports.
- Keygrabber module: Keygrabber is identical in function to a hardware module. What it makes different is its appearance and the place of hosting. It looks like a small electronic board with an integrated chip and some I/O pins instead of a USB pen drive. It goes inside the keyboard and covers itself inside the body. It’s not that easy to catch as the attacker would hide it inside the body of your computer or keyboard.
- Wireless key sniffers: A Wireless key sniffer is a more advanced module than the earlier modules. It is capable of intercepting the wireless signals of the wireless keyboard to capture your entered keystrokes. It’s not as difficult to find this compared to the second module, but not easy too.
- Key sound pickers: We can say this is a variant of key sniffers. The difference is that it uses the keyboard’s typing sound instead of capturing the wireless signals. Most of the time, it is found less accurate, but we can’t ignore this logger either.
- Software variant of Keylogger: This is the most prevalent type of logger because of its broad set of benefits over other kinds of hardware modules. It’s easy to develop, infect, and manage remotely. It’s cheap, and this list of features goes longer than other modules.
Hardware vs Software Key Loggers.
At last, see some differences between hardware and software key loggers. Hardware key loggers have their pros and cons over software key loggers. Let me walk you through those after another in precise.
- It doesn’t require more technical knowledge. Just plug and start using it.
- Easy to install.
- Efficient and accurate.
- Easy to evade antivirus.
- Physical access is required.
- Easy to spot.
- Remotely manageable.
- It was cheap.
- Anyone can create custom loggers.
- It’s more flexible and futuristic.
- Demands technical knowledge.
- It isn’t easy to infect.
- Easy to detect by antivirus programs.
How To Install And Setup A Kidlogger?
Thanks to Tutorials Point for creating such an informative video about the keylogger tutorial, which clearly shows how to install and set up a kiylogger on a computer.
See Also How To Fix CVE-2021-45608- A RCE Vulnerability In NetUSB Affect Millions Of Routers?A video about keyloggers from TutorialsPoint Youtube channel
We tried to answer the ten most asked questions about the keylogger to cover the most.
Which statement regarding a keylogger is not true?
Most people think that software keyloggers are easy to detect. But, this stays false in many cases. As keylogger programs, Most people think that software keyloggers are easy to detect. But, this stays false in many cases. As keylogger programs bound with device drivers or advance persist, threats are undetectable in most cases. And the second falls statement is that not all keyloggers are considered as malware programs. Some Keyloggers are used for useful purposes like in parental control and troubleshooting activities.
How to send a keylogger to someone’s phone?
There is no specific answer to this question. This is not legal to do. Keyloggers can be delivered to other smartphones using Social engineering attacks like phishing.
How to remotely install a keylogger on another computer?
There are many keyloggers that come with a covert remote install function. Suppose you have access to the target device. In that case, You can use these network protocols SSH, FTP, SCP, and NC protocols to deliver the keylogger and install it on the device. You can also do this by exploiting the target, but that is illegal to do.
An excellent post is published on the null byte website, which shows a step-by-step procedure to install the keylogger on the victim’s computer using Metasploit. Please go ahead and read this post.
How to detect keylogger in android?
Install a good antivirus program and scan the device. Or notice the behavioral changes like slow keyboard response, high RAM utilization, quick battery drain, and more heat generation in the smartphone.
How to make a remote keylogger?
You can create keyloggers using any high-level programming languages like C, C++ C#, JAVA, and Python. Python keyloggers, c++ keyloggers, and Java keyloggers are the most prevalent keyloggers then others.
Is there free remote keylogger software?
Answer: Yes, there are plenty of free keylogger applications available. 10 Most common keyloggers among them are:
Best free keylogger
Refog free keylogger
What is the best keylogger software?
Answer: There is nothing something called best, choose the keylogger which best suits your requirement. Our advice is to avoid free keyloggers.
Can a keylogger be installed on an iPhone?
Answer: Yes, there are a few keyloggers available on AppStore to install. Many options are also there for parental control:
Pumpic iPhone keylogger
Can a keylogger be detected?
Answer: The answer is both yes and no. Ideally, all keyloggers should be detected. But, some custom-created keyloggers bound with driver applications and APT programs are hard to detect.
Is keylogger malware?
Answer: Both yes and no. There are some keyloggers used for parental control and troubleshooting purpose. Those are legal to use. Other keyloggers created with malicious intent are considered malware.
A Detailed Case-Study Of Keylogger Infections
A detailed case study is published on “The active underground economy that trades stolen digital credentials and covers investigation on keylogger-based stealing of credentials via dropzones, anonymous collection points of illicitly collected data” by various universities.