Chances are, you use a personal computer (laptop or desktop) for quite a lot of personal things: email, social media, banking, online shopping, and more. It’s also very likely that you use your personal computer for work-related things as well: Opening sensitive company documents, reviewing business-related files, and so on.
Many of us do these things on a regular basis and without a second-thought of who, or what, might be tracking and monitoring every keystroke we make.
Of course, we’re talking about keyloggers – the software that, no matter how it’s installed, can be used to record everything you enter via your keyboard. From credit card numbers to passwords and everything in-between, keyloggers can be installed and used for financial or personal gain. Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself – and your data – from being recorded by this troubling piece of spyware.
Protecting yourself from keylogging
Because keyloggers can be installed onto a computer in a variety of ways, protection involves taking a variety of approaches to limit the possibility that one can be installed. These approaches include:
Anti-virus is something everybody should have installed on their desktop and laptop. With all the free options available, there’s no excuse for not having it installed. And, while It’s not a catch-all solution, anti-virus works as part of a comprehensive protection approach against keyloggers by catching them before they can be installed on your system as the result of downloading an infected file or visiting an infected website.
User education goes a long way toward the prevention of keyloggers and other spyware. For example – creating a policy of only downloading software and applications from trusted sources will go a long way toward minimizing risk.
Also, if possible – find a web-based software solution that lets you avoid downloading and installing unnecessary programs or software from companies you aren’t certain you can trust.
Use a virtual machine
Using a virtual machine or virtual operating system allows you to install software that might be suspect in a virtual area of your computer to separate them, and the threat of a keylogger, from the trusted parts of your computer.
When installed and configured properly, the closed environment offered by a virtual machine keeps threats completely separate from your main, and protected, operating system.
Using the on-screen keyboard to type sensitive information
One of the limitations of keyloggers is that they only capture certain information. One of the things they do not capture are clicks made on Windows’ on-screen keyboard. The on-screen keyboard isn’t very well-known by the majority of Windows users, but it can be a great way to make sure sensitive account numbers and passwords are not captured.
Yes, the process of clicking passwords and account numbers takes time, and you probably don’t want to use the on-screen keyboard for everything, but it’s certainly an option that can be used as part of a comprehensive approach. It can also be used when you are on someone else’s computer and aren’t certain of its security.
The best protection against keyloggers: more protection
The best protection against keyloggers is a comprehensive approach that involves a combination of the approaches listed above. Educating yourself and other users about safe browsing and how to spot suspicious sites and downloads will go a long way toward protecting you, your data, and your finances from those seeking to do harm with info collected through a keylogger.
Some of the advice in this article will also provide added protection against other forms of malware as well and will keep you and your data safer from a long list of malicious code and not just from the dangerous effects of keyloggers.
Consider a VPN for extra protection
High-strength VPN encryption protects not only your web browser but also your emails, Skype conversations, online banking, and everything you do or see online – whether you are at home, the office, a cafe, or traveling the world. Give yourself some added anonymity with ExpressVPN. Once connected to ExpressVPN, all your data is encrypted and indecipherable!