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Is a Keylogger Always Malicious?

There are different types of spyware out there. The one making the rounds lately is called Pegasus. Developed by Israeli cyber arms company NSO, Pegasus allows someone to read or track a target’s text messages, call logs, passwords, and location. It can even use a device’s camera and microphone to spy on others. 

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Countries across the Middle East have reportedly bought Pegasus spyware to snoop on dissidents, activists, journalists, and political rivals, paying hundreds of millions of dollars. But not all spyware is as sophisticated as Pegasus. Other types of spyware include stalkerware and keyloggers. 

What is stalkerware? 

The term stalkerware was coined after husbands, ex-partners, jealous lovers, predators, and other stalkers started using a certain kind of spyware to stalk and abuse women. Stalkerware can share precise information with an abuser, such as the content of text messages, emails, and location data. Stalkerware is commonly found on mobile app stores though it’s usually branded as security software. 

What are keyloggers? 

You’re probably now curious about keyloggers and want to know what a keylogger is and how it works. In a nutshell, a keylogger is a type of spyware that can secretly record and share consecutive keystrokes. However, some keyloggers have broader capabilities similar to other types of spyware, such as taking screenshots.

What are the types of keyloggers? 

There are two types of keyloggers. The first type is integrated hardware keyloggers. Such keyloggers usually target desktop and laptop computers and may be built into keyboards, USB drives, MicroSD cards, etc. Meanwhile, software keyloggers can target computers and mobile devices. 

How do I get a keylogger infection? 

Threat actors usually use Trojans to deliver spyware, including software keyloggers. A Trojan is a type of malware that uses trickery to enter a system, much like the Trojan horse story from Greek mythology. Once inside, a Trojan can drop a malicious payload. 

To avoid a software keylogger, think twice before lending your laptop or device to someone else. Be careful when opening emails, text messages, or attachments from suspicious people in your life. Pay attention to keylogger symptoms such as crashes, slowdowns, or strange popups. Additionally, check your machine for strange apps or run an anti-malware program that crushes all types of spyware.

Don’t accept hardware gifts from strangers to avoid hardware keyloggers. Only use trusted machines for sensitive work such as logging into your accounts or conducting financial transactions. Also, check all the cables running in your computer for suspicious modules if you suspect someone has installed a keylogger on your machine. 

Is a keylogger always malicious?

Although cybercriminals use keyloggers for malicious activity, keyloggers have some of the following legitimate uses: 

  • Troubleshooting: Many IT departments use keyloggers to troubleshoot technical issues on systems and networks and better understand user errors.
  • Child Safety: Some parents use keyloggers to monitor their young children’s online activities to protect them from predators and cyberbullies. 
  • Corporate Espionage: Some corporations use keyloggers on company computers to protect sensitive data from industry spies and disgruntled employees. 

Whether you use Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS, you could be the target of a keylogger. Use real-time antimalware protection to shield your data from people with malicious intent.

Sushant Gupta
More than just Gadgets and Gaming enthusiast, a die-hard techy, interested in anything tech be it PCs, gaming consoles, gadgets, sports, just pop it up. Bottom line is I am a technology purist at heart

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