Archive for March, 2013

Using a Keylogger as a Backup Tool

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Because keylogger programs virtually detect and store every stroke, site, instant message and email that was sent on a personal computer, it also makes for an astounding (and in some cases a saving grace) backup tool for your system.

There are many different keylogging programs and most of them allow you to monitor all the activity that goes on within your PC. Some of the software and hardware will take screenshots, track emails and instant messages, record any passwords that were used and some of the more sophisticated programs even have the ability to record the microphone activity that happened on that computer. They will also work in the event that a virus makes it way into your system and destroys the memory and encrypted information.

In cases where your system may crash, having a keylogging system that has a detailed record of all your data is a good thing. Most of the hardware and software programs now come equipped with text editors. These are nifty components built right within the hardware that will automatically create backup copies of documents that you create on your computer. Therefore in instances where you are maybe working on a research paper or business proposal and accidentally click out of your document that you forgot to save, the program has automatically been recording every key stroke and has a hard copy saved for you.

Additionally, many USB keylogger programs will save your web browsing activities and also remember and recall any sites that you have visited or searches you have entered into the web. This is handy when you need to recall some research and forgot to write down the website. Or if you are one that likes to join or subscribe to pages and blogs, but have a short memory for all those passwords, keylogging programs will also keep a steady record of all the passwords to those accounts.

Backing up

The purpose of these programs is less about spying and more about logging your applications. The software will communicate to the hardware on the PC not only password information, but it also has the ability to recall and record the titles of their windows, along with every keystroke you made to get there.

With these programs the concern that you will lose any text at all is virtually non-existent. There are functions included referred to as email clients which will keep track of any emails you send or will also keep track of your drafts. It is necessary at times to be able to have the ability to copy and paste fragments of partial texts from a website you are on and these programs can also help you do that.

The clipboard functions are also a great addition because they allow the user to copy one piece text from your board at one time instead of the entire text as a whole. You can then copy only the information you want or need to your Windows clipboard and the program will store it and make a backup copy that you can refer to at a later date or if and when you lose or crash a system.

Backing Up Your Logs

With many of the keylogger programs backing up your logs is simple. Generally the program will give you detailed instructions on how to do so and it almost always consists of burning your log into a log folder or burning the information onto a CD or USB. In some cases you can burn or save it directly to the hard drive.  Take a look at our free trial of Gecko Monitor to see how we could help you with your backing up needs.

Are Keyloggers Legal? Or Illegal?

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

There is much heated debate about the utilization of keyloggers and with so many individuals using them to track cheating spouses as well as companies using them to monitor employees behaviors and production, those for an against them being legal all have seemingly valid arguments. However, the question that needs to be answered has nothing to do with morality; it has to do with defining what the law states in regards to their use, as this is the only evidence that will be deemed acceptable should one choose to take a stance with a partner or employer.

The biggest contention for those who oppose these software programs is that on a large scale they do invade one’s privacy. Unfortunately many of the laws surrounding electronic devices do not have specific limitations or restrictions for using them and therefore, keyloggers are still considered legal in many parts of the United States and elsewhere in the world.

legal or illegal

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA)

In 1986 Congress passed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act as a way for the public at large to be able to keep their private information safe while at the same time allowing government agencies the license to monitor and record wiretaps, telephone calls and electronic data. The idea behind this act was to offer a balance between the privacy rights of citizens and to also allow the federal government to gain access to information relating to criminal and unlawful activity.

Since its initial passing, more acts have been passed in an effort to narrow the scope and better define what this act does and does not allow. Such amendments include the Federal Wiretap Act (FWA) and the Stored Communication Act (SCA). Neither of those acts includes making keyloggers illegal either.

Why it’s Still Legal to Use Keyloggers

Much of the confusion and discrepancies surrounding keyloggers comes down to how the acts are interpreted by the general public and the court systems. Even the federal government can’t agree on where the line should be drawn as far as what defines infringing upon one’s privacy rights. Most recently many court systems have attempted to interpret the protective acts in such a way that allowing the general public’s key strokes to be monitored should be seen as being unconstitutional and a definitive invasion of privacy.

The blatant conflict within defining these acts continues to cause a conundrum across the globe and in addition continues to cause conflict between employees and employers because the lines remain blurred, and the definitions and interpretations unclear. Many employees violently oppose employers spying on what they are doing even during work hours and feel that keyloggers are unlawful.

Because someone who installs keylogger software must have administrative rights on the system that it is being installed on, this gives them full access and license to do so as they see fit. Because employers can argue that there are legitimate reasons as to why activity on a computer needs to be monitored and surveyed, the practice of utilizing them is deemed as legal and in many cases, necessary. Companies have the right to protect their personal assets and information from being misused and shared and thus, using that argument alone will bypass any one employee from arguing that it is an invasion of privacy.

On an individual level, many parents utilize this software as a way to protect their children when they are online, which again is legal and recommended by people and professionals across the board. For the most part, those who use keylogger programs are doing so in a lawful and ethical way. The flipside is that with this software, there are many unethical and unlawful uses as well. Criminals are able to gain access to personal information, passwords and bank account information and therein lies the issues with those that are opposed to such software programs.

Canada Law and Keylogger Software

Much like the US Canada also have a Privacy Act that is in place and also like the US, their Privacy Act is written with many gray areas, making keylogger software definitely legal for private homes and employers. With the current acts and laws, as long as the person who installed the keylogger program is the owner of the computer or device that the software is being installed on, they have full and legal rights to utilize such software.

The laws and regulations become less arduous when individuals who are not owners of the computers or devices attempt to use them. If for example an ex-spouse or partner installs it on a computer or device without that person’s knowledge, a law suit can be filed and many have been brought up on criminal charges for doing so. In these instances it is because the installer is not the owner of the device and therefore infringes upon the computer owner’s privacy.

UK Laws and Keylogger Software

AS previously discussed, the laws and privacy acts also state that it is legal in the UK for individuals and companies to utilize keylogger software on any computer that they rightfully own. Many companies in the UK have a disclaimer in their employee manuals that specifically states that they have the right to monitor all employee activity in the case of suspicion and otherwise.

It is illegal only in instances where the information obtained is used in an unlawful way, for example as a way to collect passwords or using bank account information in an effort to steal personal funds.

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