Archive for August, 2013

Are Keyloggers Safe To Use?

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

There’s a lot of negatively terminology associated with the term ‘keylogger’ and if you’re one of those people who actually needs to use one, it may be causing you concern. Are they or aren’t they safe to use? The short answer: yes, they are. But before I explain why, a short and very boring history lesson…

The term keylogger comes from the days of Microsoft DOS, when typing was the only thing you could do on a computer. Before you could use a mouse, DOS was the operating system of choice, and what you could do with it was limited. If you wanted to monitor a computer running DOS the only thing you’d need to watch is the keystrokes, to get a full picture of what was being done on that computer – hence ‘keylogger’.

Mircrosoft DOS

Now, at first these programs were used in a non-malicious way but hackers soon realised that they could use them to intercept and acquire sensitive information. Credit card numbers and passwords were the main catch, but they’d still need to be passed on and the keylogger would still need to be some how installed on the target system.

Fast forward a few years to the inception of Microsoft Windows and a few things happened that caused the situation to advance. First, the use of the mouse meant that now keystrokes didn’t reveal the entire picture, and second, the internet making an entry into the home meant hackers had a new way to access our lives and steal information.

At this point keyloggers went in two separate directions. In one direction, people who wanted to use them legitimately incorporated all the new features into them that would be necessary for monitoring a Windows computer (screenshots, websites, applications, etc). At this point the term keylogger became slightly outdated so they started being referred to as ‘Computer Monitoring Software’. These programs are very safe to use and are used in a whole range of situations; from monitoring the kids computer, to monitoring the office network.

The second direction was the one hackers went in. They’d incorporate keyloggers into viruses, that would infect your computer in a number of ways, hijack your passwords and/or card numbers then send this information back to the hacker via the internet. One example of how this would work would be hackers sending out millions of spam emails to random addresses with links in, when someone who isn’t particularly computer savvy clicks on a link the virus automatically downloads, infects the computer and starts running.

computer virus

But as internet security has improved, the above scenario has become harder and harder to implement. In today’s world, Windows internet security and anti-virus software combined makes it tough for hackers to work in this way, making keyloggers within viruses of this nature very rare.

To cut a long story short: Computer Monitoring Software is very safe to use, and there are plenty of large, popular companies out there that supply it. Keylogger Viruses, are not, but this isn’t something you’d search out and download yourself anyway, it would be a very unlucky chance encounter, just like with any other virus.

Of course, you may think we’re slightly biased! Considering we have our very own Computer Monitoring Software. To check out a free trial of Gecko Monitor click here