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What is Keylogging? 6 ways to protect yourself

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A Keylogger  (keystroke logging) is a software that is used to record the keystrokes on the device’s physical keyboard/keypad. It is used by hackers to capture passwords and other sensitive information that is typed on the keyboard. Using this information, they can hack into social media accounts, bank accounts, email accounts and more.

Keylogging is also used by organisations and firms as a security measure to make sure the employees don’t leak data to competitors and prevent any attempts to steal confidential information.

The data recorded by keyloggers are stored in encrypted format in log files.

Also read: What is Ransomware? How to protect yourself against it

How are Keyloggers installed?

Apart from keyloggers being pre-installed on devices as a prevention measure in firms, hackers use illegal methods, to make sure the victim does not get to know that they are under this attack. The methods include:

  • Attachments in phishing emails that run malware containing the keylogger software on download.
  • Visiting websites that run malicious webpage scripts that use form-grabbing keyloggers.
  • Pre-installed in devices that contain a malware hypervisor running under the OS, like a virtual machine. Example of this is the Blue Pill rootkit.

Also read: 5 risks you should know when investing in cryptocurrency

How to protect yourself from Keyloggers?

What is Keylogging? How to protect yourself from it?

It is a good practice to change your passwords periodically as a general security measure to protect your accounts. But, there is always the possibility of the keylogger recording the new passwords, altogether rendering this measure useless.

Read on to find out better ways to protect your accounts and data from keyloggers.

Two Factor Authentication

Making use of one time passwords, which are temporary, will ensure that hackers will not be able to use the detected passwords the next time they attempt to gain access.

Virtual Keyboards

The keyloggers are designed to capture data that is inputted through the physical keyboard. A virtual keyboard is a software that allows users to input data without the need for the physical keyboard.

Thus, using a virtual keyboard will render the keylogger useless, and the adversary will not be able to detect any keystrokes. But, there are quite a few sophisticated keyloggers available that can record virtual keystrokes as well.


It is often the case that the logs created by the keyloggers have to be sent back to the adversary from your device through the internet. If you have a firewall running on your system, the firewall will detect something fishy when such data is being transmitted, and you will be notified about it.

Although this isn’t a full-proof method using which keyloggers can be stopped, it is nonetheless effective in most situations if not all.

Also read: What is ‘five eyes’ surveillance? How does it affect VPN services?

Password managers

What is ‘five eyes’ surveillance? How does it affect VPN services?

Software like Password managers is primarily helpful in terms of not needing to remember passwords and also not typing them at all. Keyloggers thus will have no keystrokes to record in the first place.

If the keylogger is sophisticated enough, it can record the virtual keystrokes or take screenshots of the activity to get the passwords. Hackers can also design malware to hack the database of the Password Manager software and get access to all of the passwords collected by the software.

Update systems regularly

Software providers are constantly patching up any vulnerability present in their system to provide maximum security. Keyloggers always look for systems that are outdated and don’t have those crucial system updates that will help them hack the system undetected.

Anti-Keyloggers and other Security Tools

There are a lot of anti-keyloggers that help detect and remove keyloggers from your system. There are also various security tools like Comodo Advanced Endpoint Protection that help to detect keyloggers present in your system.

NordVPN offers an additional functionality –Cyber Sec – that helps to detect any malicious software like keyloggers found on websites. On detection, you are restricted access from that website immediately.

Also read: What is a Honeypot attack? How to deploy it

Parinita Haldar

Parinita Haldar