Are you worried that someone close to you may be spying on your computer activity? These days it is extremely easy to download free “keylogger” software that will keep track of everything you do on your computer. Every keystroke, mouse click, and program that you run on your PC can be tracked in a log file and viewed later by whoever is spying on you. Whether it is your employer tracking your PC activity at work, or your spouse spying on you at home, if there is a keylogger on your PC, then nothing you do on it will be private.
A keylogger is a program that runs in the background hidden from the user that can record every keystroke. It stores all this information in a file for later retrieval. Some can even record visited websites, or even both sides of chat conversation. Other keyloggers can capture the screen at regular intervals to record whatever you are looking at on the screen. There are even keyloggers that can automatically email the keystroke information out to whoever has loaded it on your PC.
Anyone with an average level of computer knowledge can install a keylogger on your computer without you knowing it. A good keylogger leaves no trace after it is installed and many will not even affect system performance or show up in the Task Manager. Anyone with unsupervised access to your PC can easily install a keylogger within minutes. Once a keylogger has been installed, all your activity will be monitored and recorded until the keylogger is completely removed from the system.
Another thing to remember is if someone is spying on your computer activity, they will be able to collect all sorts of personal information about you. Any usernames or passwords you have used will be compromised. They will also store your credit card numbers even though you may have been on a secure internet site. It is not just potentially embarrassing information that you have to worry about someone knowing, your financial information could also be at risk.
There are no easy ways to prevent someone from loading a keylogger on your computer. However, there are effective ways to find out if someone is spying on you. The best way is with the use of anti-spyware software. There are many free anit-spyware programs that you can download to check your system. Most anti-spyware software is able to detect and remove keyloggers. It is recommended that you have more than one of these programs to run so that if one of them misses something, the others may pick it up. Of course, if you find a keylogger you may never know who actually installed it, so you would have to continually monitor and check for new ones.
Ironically, another way that you can monitor for keylogger software is by installing your own keylogger software. Since keylogger software is so good at recording all keystrokes, it can monitor and record the installation of another spyware program if someone should attempt it. Keep in mind however, that many anti-spyware programs you run will find the keylogger that you loaded so it would be in danger of being removed whenever you are scanning the PC.
Simply running software to look for keyloggers may not be enough to keep you completely safe from spying. There are hardware keylogger devices that will record all of the keys you press on the keyboard. Most of these are installed by connecting to a USB port, or between the keyboard and computer. There is no software available that can detect this kind of keylogger. Luckily, they are easily detected by a physical examination. If you are suspicious of someone spying on you this way, it would be a good idea to keep checking your cables and connections regularly.
With the risk of having your private data and personal computer habits so easily viewed by others it is important to protect your system. Most computers these days are protected with anti-virus and firewall software. Obviously, it is also imperative to use some type of anti-spyware software and to keep it updated and run it frequently, just as you would with the anti-virus and firewall software.