According to experts, keystroke loggers pose more risk to PC users than any other tool used for committing cybercrime. Also known as keylogger, they are small programs or hardware devices that monitor each keystroke you enter on a specific computer’s keyboard, including typos, backspacing and retyping.

Recording your every move on the Web

Although keyloggers are promoted for benign purposes like allowing parents to monitor their children’s whereabouts on the Internet, they can be used to spy on anyone. They are a form of spyware used by cybercriminals to covertly watch and record everything you type on your PC in order to harvest your log-in names, passwords, and other sensitive information, and send it on to the hackers. This may include any passwords you have asked your computer to remember for you to speed up logging in, as these are held as cookies on your machine.

Unfortunately for consumers, keyloggers are becoming very sophisticated. Once on a PC, they can track websites visited by the user and only log the keystrokes entered on the websites that are of particular interest to the cybercriminal, like online banking websites.

Types of keyloggers

Keyloggers can be one of three types:

Hardware Keylogger: small inline devices placed between the keyboard and the computer. Because of their size they can often go undetected for a long time, but they do require physical access to the machine. These hardware devices have the power to capture hundreds of keystrokes including banking and email username and passwords.