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How do keyloggers work and how to use them?

25 July 2014, by — admin ()

Keylogging. What is it?

The malicious programs that are used to record keystrokes are called keyloggers. Today they are utilized to steal any valuable information. Usually, it secret information that is tracked by the programs.

There are two main varieties of keyloggers. Hardware keylogger that is plugged between a keyboard and your computer and that is potentially detectable just by looking at the keyboard. And there is a software keylogger which is more difficult to detect.

Frankly speaking, keylogger software is more frequently used in comparison with any kind of keylogging hardware.


These malicious programs are usually used either to steal passwords, details of people’s credit cards or to simply monitor computer activity. It is not simple to detect them as they work secretly.

In most of the cases they are hidden from the persons they are targeting. You may not even suspect that your private data is known to other people.

There are a lot of antivirus programs that people use to identify and remove the malicious tools from their machines.

How do keyloggers work?

The main purpose that malicious tools have is to intercept the chain of events at the moment when a keyboard key is pressed by the user and the moment it is displayed on the screen. Generally, this very moment occurs in microseconds and it is impossible for a commoner to notice that their actions are monitored or something is wrong. After interception and recording of what was pressed on the keyboard, all that data is passed to the person who follows.

The important thing to notice is that keyloggers are not the tools you install on your own. In most of the cases they are hidden from the person whose activity is monitored. So, you can fall victim to keyloggers when you install any free software. That free software the Internet offers can often infect your computer. In the process of its installation the keylogger is also installed simultaneously and all computer sessions start to record. Sometimes, the user gets a notification or a pop-up window in the web browser which claims about a virus on their computer. It also proposes to fix a virus by downloading a free antivirus program. If you became a victim, it would be better close all windows or the browser you use without clicking. Even if a button “Cancel” is proposed to click.

Otherwise all your actions may contribute to keylogger secret download. It is important to keep in mind that this malicious program works in the background. So, it is difficult to find out that all you type on your computer is recorded and sent to the “third persons”.

Very often the keylogging software can infect your machine through free arcade games. Moreover, keyloggers are hidden in the websites you visit when surfing the Internet. If you use the legitimate programs you may often receive their faked updates that are also free to use and that have the hidden keylogging features.

However, software keyloggers do not obviously capture user’s information relying on the presses of the keyboard keys. They have some additional features whereby they track the information. There are some vivid examples of that.

First of all, it is a clipboard logging. That means that any information that the user copies to the clipboard is simply recorded by keylogging software that has been already secretly installed on the machine.

The screen of user’s computer can also be logged. Any graphic-based information is captured through screenshots that in their turn are taken by applications with screen logging. This may be the screenshots of the whole screen or just of the mouse cursor. It is not obvious that these applications take the screenshots all the time. They can capture the graphic information periodically. Also screenshots may be taken just when the person has clicked the computer mouse. In practice, keyloggers often use such applications for capturing the graphic information just around the mouse click.

There are keyloggers that work to record every program, website or window that user opens on their computer. If you are an active Internet user, all of your search engine queries, posts you leave in the social network communication or any other web activity can be recorded by keylogger software.

How to use keyloggers?

Certainly, there are legitimate and illegitimate uses of keyloggers. But most of the applications are used legally and they are simply applied in the office settings. The main purpose of the keylogging use by the employer is to log all computer activity of the employees. The idea of monitoring the employee actions on the machine help to exclude unauthorized usage as it can have a lot of serious implications. For example, if the machines are used in military installations the unauthorized usage may be resulted in espionage.

Also, keyloggers are used for monitoring the working efficiency of the employees. The idea of such monitoring is to enhance this working efficiency. People should accomplish only things related to their work, duties and tasks. If they know that all they do on the machines is monitored, they will be surely busy with their direct responsibilities. As we know people are lazy and prefer to spend the time in the social networks during their working day. Keyloggers will stop that activity and will help to make employees do their work.

One of the examples of legitimate ways of keylogger usage is applications for parental control. Today all children prefer to use the Internet in their early childhood. The problem is that parents allow them to use not only computers, but almost all Internet resources. It should be noted that all parent who allow their kid using the Internet expose them to online risks. Social networking is a very popular way of communication for today. But a lot of charity organizations warn about possible risks parents have when setting up the accounts in any of the social network for their kids.

According to the statistics of one of the online security company, a half of kids or more are unsupervised when surfing the Internet. The research showed that most of the parents have not talked to their kids about safety in the web. Children using the Internet without any control may lead to different cases. Very often children do not know how to stay safe in the web and deal with such serious issues as cyber-bullying. If parents do not want to have an open conversation with their kids about online safety, there are a lot of keylogging applications that are created and should be installed for parental control. With keylogging apps you are able to know always where your kid was in the web during the week, which sites he/she visited and what he/she was searching for.

Furthermore, you as a parent may know where your child is during the day or week. Today there is a variety of keylogging applications that can be installed not only on the computers, but on the cellphones also. These very convenient freeware applications are used to track the geographical coordinates of the places where your children have been to during the day or week. With the help of keylogging app parents have a possibility to know the definite time when their children have been located at the particular place.

It is important to point out the difference that keylogging applications have. Many of them have this convenient function to keep the history. In other words, parents may look through the time and places which their child visited last month. All details are shown in their chronological order and can be displayed on a google map.


There is also other software with keylogging features with the help of which all applications that are used on the phone can be recorded. Also it is possible to know the web history, that is the list of websites your children visited using mobile Internet. The present-day keylogging apps that parents may install to control the activity of their children are also used to record calls and SMS. That means parents may always know kid’s favorite contacts.

As we see, legitimate uses of keyloggers help to decide serious problems. With their help employers can deal with the lazy staff that will bring the results to the business. Keylogger may really help parents to know where their kids are, whether they use illegal websites when they are not at home and what friends they call and communicate with. Many keylogging applications which work in the background may really save children from online threats.