Definition & Meaning:

A keylogger is a tool that records every keystroke made on a computer or mobile device, capturing all typed data, including confidential information such as passwords, credit card numbers, and personal messages.

This tool can be software-based, where it’s installed on the device, or hardware-based, attached directly to the computer’s keyboard.

For instance, if you’re typing a sensitive email or entering your online banking details, a keylogger would record all this information, making it accessible to whoever installed or controls the keylogger.

Keyloggers are often associated with malicious activities, such as identity theft, financial fraud, and privacy invasion.

Cybercriminals use them to gather personal and financial information for illegal purposes. However, there are legitimate uses for keyloggers, too.

Employers might use them to monitor employees’ computer usage during work hours, and parents might install them to keep tabs on their children’s online activities, ensuring they’re safe from inappropriate content or online predators.

The dual nature of keyloggers, serving both legitimate monitoring and malicious spying, places them in a grey area legally.

When used without a person’s knowledge or consent for spying, keyloggers are illegal under various laws related to privacy and data protection.

In contrast, when used with transparency and consent for security or monitoring, they are legal. Detecting a keylogger on your device isn’t always straightforward since many are designed to operate stealthily.

Symptoms might include slower computer performance, unusual computer behavior, or unexpected text inputs.

Protecting yourself from malicious keyloggers involves installing robust antivirus software that can detect and remove such threats, being cautious about downloading software from the internet, and regularly updating your operating system and applications to close security loopholes.