Saturday, January 3, 2015

How To Find Out If You Have A Keylogger Installed On Your Computer

How To Find Out If You Have A Keylogger Installed On Your Computer

Sometimes, there is a downside to the fact that the internet makes everything so easy. Case in point: cybercrime. Without ever seeing you, total strangers can access passwords and information that will give them access to your funds, credit and even your identity. In short, any personal data that you have access to online, from bank accounts to sensitive emails, can fall prey to a hacker.

One of the most common ways of internet fraud is through the use of keylogging or the use of spyware to monitor every keystroke you make. Such criminal technology is all the more sinister in that it can be difficult to detect; however, if you are vigilant, it doesn’t take a tech whiz to keep the keyloggers at bay.

Here are some reliable guidelines to prevent your information from getting hacked, to know if you are being keylogged, and what to do if you know you’re being compromised:

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Prevention and detection

  • Know your control panel. This sounds simple, but keeping track of your authorized programs may be all you need to do. If there’s a mystery guest on your panel, check it out ASAP—this may even include hardware that your computer sees, but simply does not exist!
  • Regularly “do the sweeps.” A number of routine security precautions are also reliable ways of routing out spyware. Do regular scans with a reliable virus protector to find possible trojans, and always make sure your firewall is up. You should also inspect all running programs from time to time by pressing the “control”, “alt” and “delete” keys to consult your task manager.
  • Always consider the source. In short, never open a file from someone you don’t know—this includes pop-ups from mystery contacts. Most of all, never respond to pop-ups or emails requesting you to update your ID’s or passwords; it’s almost certainly a scam. Finally, while this may seem slightly overboard, make a habit of intermittently checking the web addresses of the sites you visit. Dummy sites used to harvest vital information may be perfect facsimiles, but they will have suspicious-looking urls.
  • Use the big guns. If you regularly access particularly sensitive materials or you have reason to suspect you are a repeated target, it would be wise to take special precautions. Certain programs, such as Microsoft’s Process Monitor or Hijack This, will find any invaders. You may also consider running from a virtual PC so you can leave fewer trails for hackers to follow.

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If one of the methods above sends up the red flag, getting rid of the keylogger will only take a few steps:

  • Go to the task manager and click “end process”. If you share a computer, make sure that the program you’re removing is indeed a spy implant.
  • Remove the spy program by downloading a free software removal tool—obviously, you won’t want to make an online purchase while you’re being monitored! PC Whiz is a good user-friendly option.
  • Reboot your computer and play it safe by updating your anti-spyware arsenal. Most of them are reasonably priced or even free, but make sure you’re using a reputable provider: some of the most devious hackers find their targets by offering fake spyware detection.

In some cases, spyware can be so pernicious that you’ll need a computer professional to debug your computer; however, even the most casual computer user can take care of things on their own. Again, the best solution is prevention, so use the above tips to make sure you never have a problem in the first place.

About The Author:

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer and internet entrepreneur from Southern California whose writing covers everything on technology, home security, gaming and marketing. She keeps her computer well-protected through the use of various programs.

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