HOW DOES A COMPUTER GET A KEYLOGGER?
A keylogger is a malicious program that steals personal information by recording keystrokes. But how does a computer get a keylogger in the first place? In this article, we’ll show you how anyone can accidentally acquire a keylogger while browsing the Internet.
5 WAYS TO GET A KEYLOGGER
As the Internet has evolved over the years, so have keyloggers; but their methods for infiltrating computers have remained mostly the same:
1. Opening a Spam Email
A spear phishing or fake email is one of the primary vehicles for keyloggers. Hackers will often attach malware containing keyloggers to emails and then disperse these emails to random lists of users. Simply by opening one of these infected emails, you can get a keylogger that will hide itself on your computer.
2. Installing Malicious Software
Another source of keylogger infections: fake or malicious software. By embedding keyloggers in seemingly authentic software, hackers can collect manually-entered passwords, as well as other personal information of yours. Because of the volume of applications that we download today on our computers and smartphones, it’s easy to unwittingly install one infected with a keylogger.
3. Clicking a Malicious Pop-up Ad
Old-school but effective tools for infecting computers, malicious pop-ups can harbor keyloggers of their own—bombarding you the moment you arrive on a website. When you attempt to close out a malicious pop-up ad, you can install a keylogger by clicking on the ad in question. Hackers will intentionally design their pop-ups to install malware when users click on the close button.
4. Clicking on a Phishing Link
In cybertech parlance, phishing URLs are infected links that redirect you to unwanted websites. You can encounter these URLs literally anywhere, but namely: articles, video descriptions, and app descriptions. Once you visit an infected website, a keylogger can get onto your computer in a matter of seconds, installing itself in the background.
An all-too-common way to get a keylogger on your computer: drive-by-downloads. When visiting an infected website, be it through a search engine or a phished URL, you expose your computer to malware that can install itself automatically, and secretly. While you busy yourself by browsing through content, or typing a comment, a keylogger could be collecting your information.
HOW TO DETECT A KEYLOGGER ON YOUR COMPUTER?
If you suspect that you’ve accidentally infected your computer with a keylogger, here’s a few of the most effective ways to identify and detect it:
1. Access Your Task Manager
Inside your Windows Task Manager, you can see every active application at a glance. If there’s a keylogger running on your computer, you’ll see it immediately.
- Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to bring up your Task Manager
- Click on the “Processes” tab
- Look for any suspicious or unfamiliar applications
- Right-click and select “End Process”
Once you’ve ended the process, the keylogger will stop tracking and recording your keystrokes, but will not be deleted from your computer.
2. Uninstall the Keylogger in Programs and Features
By navigating to Programs and Features, you can spot and uninstall any malicious software that may have recently installed itself without your knowledge.
- Open your Start menu
- Choose Control Panel
- Go to Programs and Features
- Look for any suspicious application or software you didn’t install
- Right click on it and select “Remove or Uninstall”
3. Access Your Computer’s Temp Folder
Due to the lax security surrounding your TEMP folder, malware often hides itself here. While this method may not spot a keylogger, it will rid your computer of lurking malware immediately.
- Type “%temp%” into the Windows Explorer search bar
- When the TEMP folder opens, clear your temporary files
- Be sure to empty your Recycle Bin to delete any keyloggers
4. Utilize a Malware Scanner
If you’re seeking a more foolproof method to detect keyloggers on your computer, download a trusted malware scanner. Designed to deep scan your computer for threats, malware scanning can identify malicious software, quarantine and eliminate it.
You’ll find a number of free malware scanners that you can download and install. After installing the best scanner available, conduct a full malware scan. Any malware or keyloggers present on your computer will be detected, and then deleted at the conclusion of the scan.
While there are numerous ways for a keylogger to get onto your computer, you can protect your information. Be vigilant when visiting new websites, and consider shielding yourself with a trusty and reputable anti-malware scanner.
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