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The signs of a keylogger infection on computer and smartphone — Security Master

It is very important to know about key loggers as they play a major role in the world of cybersecurity. Often, computers and smartphones show a number of signs when they get infected with a keylogger. This post lists a few such noticeable signs and symptoms (indicators of infection) of keylogger infections on computers and smartphones. And also we are going to tell all about the ‘key loggers’. Starting from What is a keyloggers, how does it work, how it gets infected, and different types of key loggers, and many more.

What is Keylogger?

Did you know you could be compromised by your keyboard, webcams, microphones, and quite anything that you use to interact with your computers and smartphones? All this could be possible by logging the data of victim with by leveraging the service of loggers. Loggers are a special type of applications which are made to keep the device logs in its storage for various purposes. Loggers are too big to cover in this small post. Let’s limit the focus only to a subset of it, Keyloggers.

Welcome to the worked of Key loggers, a keylogger is either a software program or hardware device which is designed to capture, store and share the user’s keystrokes with others for any reason. Keyloggers can be used for a variety of reasons. Hackers use keyloggers to steal the victims personal or confidential information like bank details, username and passwords. On the other hand, keyloggers can be used by admins for monitoring and troubleshooting activities. Let’s see how it works in the next section.

How does keylogger work?

In a simple way, keyloggers work like a surveillance camera. It captures each key that you enter like a person sitting behind you and watching all your activities and store those keystrokes locally or send them to the remote place. In addition to the keystrokes, New loggers are loading with more and more capabilities. Some new loggers can capture screenshots, web camera pictures, audio from the microphone and send all the captured data to remotely sitting operator over the internet or just stores in its local storage database.

How keyloggers send the data?

It’s up to how the keyloggers are designed to send the data. It’s purely subjective. We can list some of the common methods keyloggers have been using to share the data.

  1. Most of the loggers are designed to upload the data to a website, FTP server, database or a remote storage place.
  2. Sending data through emails are also quite often.
  3. Hardware variant of keyloggers mostly stores the data rather sharing them.

Are Key loggers legal to use?

Whenever someone hears the word ‘key logger’ it sounds more like malware. And, that is true in most cases. As we said in the earlier section, key loggers are mostly used for malicious intent, but there is someplace where it is being used for a good purpose.

Use of keyloggers in supervision activities:

like in parenting applications, which is designed to monitor the activities of children on the world of the web to save them being distracted.

Let’s give you another instance, Key loggers are a common tool for corporations, which information technology departments use to troubleshoot technical problems on their systems and networks-or to keep an eye on employees surreptitiously.

Keyloggers are most obvious thing in ethical hacking area too.

In all such cases, where you buy and use the key logger on your devices are perfectly legal. There are plenty of products that are sold on the internet these days.

Use of loggers to spy:

But, when the major concerns begin when the bad guys start using the key loggers for criminal intent. When they try to install a keylogger on other’s machine without their knowledge and try to do spy on them to grab their personal and confidential information sell on the dark web for profit. In the next section, we see how hackers infect keyloggers to your computer and smartphone.

How can computers and smartphones get infected by a keylogger?

Hackers use multiple ways to infect keyloggers depending on the keylogger’s feature set. Hardware modules are easy to host if the hacker doesn’t have a physical barrier. Most of them are just plug and play. But, you should have the physical access to the targeted machine. On the other hand, the software version of keylogger has multiple routes to enter. Here is the list:

  1. Infected links: Keylogging malware can be delivered to the victim using compromised websites.
  2. Phishing scams: It’s often to use social engineering technique such as phishing to deliver the keylogging malware.
  3. Unauthorized Sources: Public resources, like app stores, application download centres and code repositories like GitHub are also good sources to distribute keyloggers.
  4. Supply chain attack: keyloggers could be hidden inside the operating system and software updates received over the internet.
  5. untrusted third-party: Keyloggers can be infected by downloading applications from untrusted third-party sites, attachments from untrusted emails.

After looking the some common ways keylogger gets infected. Let’s go ahead and see the common signs of keylogger infection.

What are the common signs of keylogger infections?

Both computers and smartphones indicate a number of signs and symptoms when they get infected with a keylogger. Let’s list some of the signs which would help in detecting the keylogger after get infected:

Common keylogger infection signs or symptoms in computers:

  1. Suspicious Hardware: There are two types of hardware modules are there. External and Internal or Embedded. External Hardware modules are easy to spot as they are connected to the external ports and visible to eyes, just you need to recognize them. On the other hand, it’s tricky to detect the embedded key loggers. The most common sign to detect them are system behaviour:
  2. Unknown process: Software Keyloggers are also an application like others. It runs in the operating system as like other processes. Check the all active process running on the computer and validate them.
  3. Keyboard and mouse malfunction: You may experience your mouse and keyboards behave out of your control. As like your mouse pointer disappear at one place and went to a different point without your actions. Similarly, your keyboard courser move intermittently without your action.
  4. System performance issues: You may feel that your computer become less responsive, or slow in running programs and loading web sites. random freezing. Some key loggers would kill your system performance by eating up more resources.
  5. Program Errors: Throw unexpected errors, program interruptions, sometime you may see your system reboot by its own.
  6. Alerts from antivirus applications:

Common keylogger infection signs or symptoms in smartphones:

  1. Delayed Typing: Smartphone keyboards become less responsive.
  2. High resource utilization: Smartphones starts utilizing high RAM than usual.
  3. Camera and microphone malfunction: Smartphone’s launch its camera by itself and takes pictures, and microphone covertly start recording.
  4. Enormous heat generation: Stars heating more than a usual and dramatic drop in battery charge.
  5. Program Errors: Applications disappear by its own, stop responding, close by its own. reboot by its own.

After seeing the common signs of keylogger infection on computer and smartphone. See best practice to remove the keyloggers from computers and smartphones.

How to detect a keylogger infection?

After noticing the signs and symptoms of keylogger infection. It is important to detect to remove from the devices. There are two prominent ways to confirm the presence of keyloggers.

  1. Anti-virus & anti-keylogger application: These applications are designed to detect malware like viruses, worms, Trojans, ATPs, ransomware, exploit kits, rootkits, and spyware on the computer and smartphone. Which detect the presence of a keylogger program on the computer and smartphone. Visit the page to know the best antivirus for your device.
  2. Manual analysis: Check the active running process on the computer, trace the active network connection using programs like netstat, Verify the installed programs on both computer and smartphone, and monitor the resource utilization.

How to remove the keylogger infection?

If you are confirmed with keylogge infections then it is time to react and remove the keylogger on your device. Here are the six such reactive approaches listed to minimize the impact of keyloggers on computers and smartphones.

  1. Monitor process utilization: Use some monitoring tools on the smartphone to monitor the resources. And, there are plenty of ways are there to do this on computers.
  2. Keep antivirus protection up to date: Use a good antivirus program and always keep the definitions up to the date.
  3. Manage Hardware access: Don’t simply give access to all the applications on the smartphone and disable admin account on the computer and enable all the security features on both devices.
  4. Use anti-keylogger application if possible.
  5. Remove PUP programs: Try identifying and uninstall the Potentially Unwanted Programs from the computer and smartphone.

Before knowing the reactive approach. It’s better to follow a proactive approach to remain away from reinfections. Read the below section to know more about the proactive approach.

How to prevent keylogger infection?

Always pay attention about signs and symptoms of keylogger infections. There is no guaranty of reinfections. As a proactive action, here are the most common measures to counter the keyloggers before getting infected again:

  1. Awareness is the key. You should gain some knowledge about the key loggers, how they look? what they are up to?
  2. Use a good antivirus programs and run scans from time to time.
  3. Don’t download anything from untrusted websites, don’t open untrusted emails and attachments.
  4. Keep your system and application up to date.

After all, there is another aspect of the keylogger to tell. This post doesn’t conclude without touching the topic. Types of keyloggers.

What are the different types of the Key loggers?

Key loggers come in many forms over your imagination. It comes in both in hardware and as well as software variants. Both have their own pros and cons on each other. Let’s take one after another each of them. Before that, l want you to know all possible types of loggers those are being used these days.

Five common types of keyloggers:

  1. Hardware Key logger module: It looks more or less like a normal small size USB pen drives. These devices sit right between your computer and keyboard to intercept the key signals that you enter on the keyboard. It’s easy to detect if you pay a little attention at all your external USB ports.
  2. Key grabber module: This comes underneath of hardware module. This is identical in function with the first type of module. What it makes differ is its appearance and the place of hosting. It looks like a small electronic board with an integrated chip and some I/O pins rather a USB pen drive. It goes inside the keyboard and covers itself inside the body. It’s not that easy to catch as it would be hidden inside the body of your computer or keyboard.
  3. Wireless key sniffers: This module is more advance than the earlier modules. It is designed to intercept the wireless signals of the wireless keyboard to capture your entered keystrokes. It is capable of intercepting the signals anywhere within the working proximity of the keyboard. It’s not as difficult as to find this in comparison with the second module, but not easy too.
  4. Key sound pickers: This we could say a variant of key sniffers, but the difference is that it uses the sound produced by the keyboard while hitting keys instead of capturing the wireless signals. Most of the time it found less accurate but we can’t ignore this logger either.
  5. Software variant of key logger: This is the most prevalent type of logger because of its wide set of benefits over other kinds of hardware modules. It’s easy to develop, it’s easy to infect, it’s easy to manage remotely, it’s cheap, and this list of features goes longer than other modules.

Hardware vs Software Key loggers.

At last, see some differences between hardware and software key loggers. Hardware key loggers have their own pros and cones over software key loggers. Let me walk you through those ones after another in precise.

Pros:

  1. It doesn’t require more technical knowledge. Just plug and start using it.
  2. It’s easy to install.
  3. It’s more efficient and accurate.
  4. It’s easy to evade antivirus.

Cons:

  1. Physical access is required.
  2. It’s easy to spot.
  3. It’s expensive.

Software Modules:

Pros:

  1. Remotely manageable.
  2. It’s cheap.
  3. Custom loggers can be created by anyone.
  4. It’s more flexible and futuristic.

Cons:

  1. It needs technical knowledge.
  2. It’s difficult to infect.
  3. It’s easy to detect by antivirus programs.

How to install and setup a kidlogger?

Thanks to Tutorials Point for creating such informative video about kidlogger tutorial which clearly shows how to install and setup kidlogger on a computer.

A detailed Case-Study of Keylogger infections

There is a detailed case study of the active underground economy that trades stolen digital credentials and which covers investigation on keylogger-based stealing of credentials via dropzones, anonymous collection points of illicitly collected data by various universities. Visit this page for more information or download the pdf file available below. URL: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-642-04444-1_1

Conclusion:

We created this post in order to serve you with a comprehensive information about the keylogger, We have covered starting from what is keyloggers to it’s working with usage, detection, removal, and prevention strategies. We also covered what are the signs and symptoms (indicators of infection) of keylogger infections in simplistic form. We hope this helps you in understanding most of the things related to this topic.

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Originally published at https://thesecmaster.com on January 13, 2021.

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