Online privacy has become an essential need in the present day. Most of us neglect the importance of maintaining online security and, as a result, fall prey to cyber-attackers. The situation even worsens when you don’t know about online viruses, adware, malware, and spyware like keyloggers. In this article, I’m going to tell you what keyloggers are? And how to protect against them.
In short, a keylogger is a name given to computer software that can track and record your keystroke. They do so to get access to your personal information like your bank details and passwords.
Now, let’s jump into the article to find out more about keyloggers and ways to prevent its attack.
What Is a Keylogger?
A keylogger belongs to the spyware family that tracks you by keys you strike on your keyboard. They work as insidious spyware that watches and records the typed information on a keyboard.
When you type anything on the keyboard, the software sends the log file to some specific server, and the attackers know about it. It means that anything you type gets recorded by the keylogger. It also includes sensitive information like:
- Credit card and bank account number
- Confidential messages
- Social security numbers
- Username and passwords
- Website URLs
Keyloggers are both hardware and software, but they are more common as a type of software. The primary objective of a keylogger is to seize the credit card data you enter. They want to steal all your money and other financial data. When cyber-crooks access private information, they make an online transaction to get all the money from the target’s account. Hackers also use them as a spying tool to breach business and government data.
Types of Keyloggers
Based on the nature of the attack, keyloggers of two main types:
Hardware-Based Keyloggers: It is a rare type of keylogger and requires manual insertion to get into the device. As they are hardware so, it isn’t easy to detect them.
Software-Based Keyloggers: These keyloggers are present in the system software. They work in the background without getting noticed. Cyber-criminals install them via phishing emails or other malicious links. They are not always harmful because, at times, companies install them to track their employees. Also, parents install it on the system so they can track their children’s activities.
How Do Keyloggers Get In Your System?
There are several ways by which a keylogger can get into your system. Like the Trojan horses, a keylogger gets downloaded without your consent. The mentioned below are four ways through which keyloggers infect our system.
If your device already has some vulnerability or security flaw, then there’s more chance of a keylogger getting into it. By any backdoor or malicious software, the keyloggers can access your device.
Phishing is the most common social engineering method that the majority of the users are not aware of. All the suspicious-looking links and attachments in an email are bogus. Clicking on them exposes your device to a keylogger. Moreover, if in the email the hackers try to trick them into clicking on any malicious link so, the keyloggers soon get activated when you visit the site.
Be wise enough to detect phishing emails and avoid clicking and downloading any unsolicited links and messages. Usually, such stuff contains malware and can infect your system.
The cyber-attackers often use Trojans to install keyloggers through fake emails. It looks like legitimate and useful software, but it spreads malware on your device. When you download the software, it infects the system with malware and functions in a way that hackers want them to.
If you visit any fake and bogus website, then the keyloggers may get into your system. The web page script exploits the browser vulnerability, and the software installs on your device.
Five Ways to Protect Against Keyloggers
The best way to protect against keyloggers is to prevent them from entering your system. But the question is how to protect them? Below are five crucial steps that you can adopt to protect yourself from keyloggers.
Invest In a Reliable Anti-Virus Software
Anti-virus software acts as the defense line against protecting your system from malware, including keyloggers. But, to use antivirus for keyloggers, one should take some extra steps. Most of the reliable anti-virus companies keep a record of the keyloggers, and based on it; they categorize them as malicious or slightly malicious.
You need to go through the database record and check if it can detect them or not. You can change the settings of the software to protect you from common keyloggers.
Change Your Passwords
Changing your passwords is a good cyber hygiene practice. By changing your passwords weekly or monthly, hackers won’t track you and can’t compromise your valuable data. Even if the hacker compromises your old password, it won’t be of any use because they can’t access your account. Thus, in this way, you can protect yourself from keyloggers.
Also, make sure that the changed password should be strong and complex. The malicious actors can’t break and trace it. And if you find it challenging to decide one such password, use the best password managers.
Update Your System
Always update your system and software from time to time as it protects from malware and keyloggers. The keyloggers often get into your system when they witness any security flaw. Updating the system minimizes such chances and ensures that every loophole gets fixed.
Install Two-Factor Authentication
It is an extra step for boosting your online privacy and security. Enabling two-factor authentication is the best technique to identify keyloggers. Only those users can access the system or account that passed the two steps verification process. When hackers attempt to access your system without the other verification process, an alert is sent to the real user.
They can immediately change the passwords and prevent any further damage from happening.
Use An Onscreen Keyboard
Another way to prevent keyloggers from stealing your financial data is to use an onscreen keyboard. It is the best solution for entering your banking details and other sensitive information. Now the majority of the computers have an onscreen keyboard option available. You need to search for it in the program accessories list and start using it soon.
Keyloggers are malicious software that infects your system without your consent. There are various means by which keyloggers get into your system, but they all have the same essential purpose. They all want to compromise your financial data and use it in the way they want.
But, by adopting some preventive measures, you can protect against them. The tips mentioned above are the best for protecting yourself from keyloggers. Do follow them and stay secure!