In this guide on how to detect keylogger software, we’ll go into detail on how these apps operate, what they can do, and how to spot them.
Keylogger software is widely available, and the malware is notoriously easy for hackers to inject. This article will explore how to tell if you have a keylogger and how to remove keyloggers, step by step.
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What is Keylogging and How Does it Work?
Keylogging, short for keystroke logging, refers to the recording of a user’s keystrokes on a computer or smartphone, generally without their knowledge. This practice can capture sensitive information from the target, giving hackers entry to the target’s online accounts.
Malicious actors use hardware and software keyloggers that excel at remaining hidden to capture information. The hardest part of removing them is often finding them in the first place, which can prove to be a problem even for large enterprises.
What Are Keylogging Warning Signs to Watch Out For?
Before you start checking your installed apps and searching for unusual programs, you might notice these red flags, which may indicate the presence of a keylogger on your device.
- Performance Drops — Like other malware, a keylogger may slow down your PC or smartphone, often resulting in regular or continuous device performance drops.
- Keyboard Issues — If you notice that some keys on your keyboard are suddenly not working or input the wrong character, there may be a keylogger in your system.
- Disappearing Cursor — A keylogger can cause the cursor to disappear and re-appear on your screen or lag behind your mouse movements.
- Unauthorized Access — If you suddenly get an email saying someone has accessed one of your online accounts from a different location, it may be a hacker who has captured your details using a keylogger.
Here are some additional warning signs that may indicate the presence of a keylogger on smartphone devices.
- Fast Battery Drain — Check your smartphone for keyloggers if its battery begins to drain much more quickly than usual.
- Unusual Notifications — Although spy apps rarely show notifications on the target phone, run an antivirus scan if you see any particularly unusual alerts from apps.
- Strange Noise or Activity — If your screen randomly turns on and off or produces white noise or crackling sounds, it may be infected with a keylogger.
- Overheating — While it’s normal for a phone to heat up during intensive tasks like playing games, if it keeps overheating while you aren’t using it, you may have a keylogger.
Why Are Keyloggers Dangerous?
Keyloggers pose a serious threat to businesses and consumers as they can record a user’s keystrokes while staying hidden. Failing to detect a keylogger can result in malicious actors gaining access to your banking details, business emails, and private conversations.
With this information, they could steal your money, take out loans, hijack your social media accounts, and delete or ransom your business and personal files.
These malicious tools can also help hackers bypass some of the most sophisticated defense tools. For example, a hacker cracked LastPass’ corporate password vault using a keylogger on the home PC of one of its employees, bypassing the complicated login process for the company’s corporate software.
Top Tips for Avoiding Keylogger Attacks
While knowing how to detect and remove keyloggers from your devices is important, preventing them from infesting your computer or smartphone is even better. Here, we’ll list the best practices you can follow to avoid falling victim to a keylogging attack.
- Install Antivirus Software — Antivirus tools offer real-time protection to prevent keylogging attacks. We suggest using one of the best antiviruses with a VPN for increased security.
- Avoid Public WiFi — Don’t use public WiFi networks unless you encrypt your connection using one of the best VPNs. Open connections leave you vulnerable to man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks and keylogging.
- Use Strong Passwords — Ensure every online account has a strong, unique password. If you have too many accounts to manage, consider using a password manager.
- Keep Your System Up to Date — Regularly check for operating system updates and make sure to download them – and stay abreast of updates for your smartphone as well.
- Declutter Your Devices — Every once in a while, check your devices for unknown and unused apps and uninstall them.
Other Antivirus Guides to Read Next
An antivirus tool is much more than just a keylogger detector. These programs can keep your devices safe from a wide range of external threats – and you can learn more about them from our guides.
- Best Antivirus Software
- Best Antivirus for Gaming PCs
- Best Mac Antivirus
- Best Business Antivirus Software
- Best Antivirus for Servers
Summary – How to Detect a Keylogger and Stop It
Keyloggers remain the go-to tool for cyberstalkers and hackers looking to covertly steal your data. The scariest part is that these tools are readily available, and parents can legally use commercial solutions to keep an eye on their children – so anyone can subscribe to their services.
Knowing how to detect keylogger software is important, but preventing it from infecting your devices is crucial. Experts recommend installing a reliable antivirus tool with real-time protection against spyware, such as TotalAV, as being the best method of defending yourself from keyloggers.