Key Logging refers to a way that a malicious individual obtains or monitors all of the keys typed by a user of a computer system. There are multiple ways in which key logging can be accomplished. One way is through the use of a virus program or Trojan Horse. An attacker sends an unexpected user a file that contains this sort of malicious program. The program is activated by the PC user resulting in the installation of that code on the users system. As the user types into the keyboard, all keystrokes are being logged in a hidden file. On a regular basis, this file is then being sent through hidden channels to the attacker without the user realizing that this is going on. The attacker receives a file that contains all of the keystrokes that had been entered into the system. Some of these keystrokes may include usernames and passwords or other sensitive information.
To protect against this type of attack, it is important that anti-virus software be kept up to date. Most, if not all, anti-virus software looks for these types of malicious key logging software. Another way to detect this type of software is if you see activity occurring on your system when you know that no processes should be running. You may be able to view your process lists and see programs that are unfamiliar running in the background. This could be an indication that your system is affected by some form of malicious software.
To check what processes are running on your system, right-click on the taskbar (next to “start”) and choose the Task Manager option. Once that window appears, choose the “processes” button to see all of the processes/programs that are using CPU and memory resources. Some processes are required for your computer to run while others may be running as a result of some program being installed that the user is not aware of. To learn more about the running processes on your PC as well as those which can be disabled without damaging your computer, check out this website:
Another type of key logging attack includes an actual hardware device. This device is installed on your system as a little adapter between your keyboard and your PC. These types of devices require physical access to your system to install and also retrieve the logs generated by the device. This type of attack is pretty dangerous in that these devices usually go undetected by any type of anti-virus software. These devices are usually not found since most individuals do not ever look behind their PCs. A good practice would include periodically crawling under your desk to look for any devices attached to your keyboard cable. You may also want to check after personnel such as cable, Internet, or telephone technicians complete a service call at your location.