What is a Keylogger

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By DeVry University

August 31, 2022
7 min read

What is a Keylogger?

Keyloggers and other types of malware can pose a serious threat to your safety while on the internet.

Keyloggers are a type of cyberattack that records the individual keystrokes on your computer. They’re often used to capture private information which can in turn be used to steal identities, passwords and other sensitive information. A keylogger can even be installed on company computers, then used to gain access to private databases by reading what employees type when they log in.

Fortunately, there are ways to defend against these malicious attacks using some cyber security basics. In this article, we’ll show you how to protect yourself from keyloggers so that you can more effectively identify them and defend against their attacks:

Who Uses Keyloggers?

Keyloggers are used by cybercriminals to try and uncover private data by recording the keystrokes of a user or users.

Some of the cybercriminals who use keyloggers are trying to steal banking passwords or other sensitive information that they can then sell to interested parties. In more extreme cases, a keylogger attack could be an act of cyberterrorism. For example, if a keylogger was installed on an organization’s computer, it could be used to specifically target the company or individual for a political purpose.

How Do Keyloggers Impact Targeted Users?

One of the most insidious things about a keylogger is how difficult they are to detect. Unless you regularly check up on your software, chances are that you won’t notice a keylogger has been installed on your computer. However, there are a few factors you can watch out for that might indicate the presence of a keylogger on your computer:

  • Your computer runs slower than usual.
  • Excessive hard drive and network activity.
  • Unexpected icons appear on your dashboard or desktop.
  • You’re getting more scam calls and emails than normal.

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How to Protect Yourself from Keyloggers

You can help protect yourself from keyloggers in many of the same ways you protect yourself from other cyber security threats:

  • Only download files from trusted and recognized sources.
  • Double-check URLs before clicking or downloading anything
  • Keep your operating system (OS) up to date.
  • Install an ad blocker or pop-up blocker on your browser.
  • Set up two-factor authentication on your most sensitive accounts.
  • Only download applications onto your phone that are from the manufacturer’s marketplace.

In the event that a keylogger ends up infecting your computer, you should disconnect your device from the internet immediately. Then, search your programs for any new or unfamiliar programs and remove anything that looks suspicious. It’s also a good idea to run a system scan with an antivirus software to see if it can find anything you might have missed or don’t recognize.

Learn to Combat Cyberattacks at DeVry

If you’re interested in learning how to protect networks and users from cyberattacks like keylogging and spyware, then cyber security might be the career path for you. At DeVry, our cyber security education comes in the form of a variety of certificate and degree programs, such as our Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems with a Specialization in Cyber Security Programming, our Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology with a Specialization in Cyber Security and our Undergraduate Certificate in Cyber Security. Pursue your education in a way that works for you, by earning your degree 100% online or through our hybrid model. Classes start every 8 weeks.

1Each student is allotted a set number of hours of tutoring per academic session through www.Tutor.com (available 24/7). Additional tutoring services are also available through www.DeVryTutors.com.

2DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), www.hlcommission.org. The University’s Keller Graduate School of Management is included in this accreditation.

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