Keyloggers: Should You Worry?

If you get any of the tech newsletters from Windows, Norton, Vipre, or any of the many security newsletters, you've probably seen a lot about Keyloggers.

Keyloggers Defined

Keylogger is a short form of "keystroke logging." That means just what the name suggests: logging all your keystrokes as you strike the keys on your keyboard.

The legitimate use for this in the corporate world is to monitor employees and see what they are actually doing (as opposed to what they're supposed to be doing). A lot of corporations employ this to make sure their employees are being good little worker bees and not balancing their checking account or leering at porn sites.

Smart Criminals

Then there are the denizens of the dark world of Internet crime who through sneaky and illegal means deposit keylogging software on a victim's computer. Once that's done, they can gather every single keystroke you make, meaning, of course, bank account and credit card numbers, love letters to a mistress, access to medical accounts, and everything that constitutes most people's biggest nightmares of identity theft and financial ruin.


Don't have a stroke. Though this does happen, it's not an absolute if you follow good security habits that lessen the threat of malware being installed on your computer.

1. Make sure you have an effective anti-malware program isntalled.

I use VIPRE on 2 computers now. When my current BRAND NAME subscription expires, I'm switching to VIPRE with a site license to cover all. My husband had McAfee whose recent update completely wiped out his email application including all saved emails. McAfee was of no help in getting that repaired. A day later they came out with a patch and a lame apology. The patch required about 6 hours of working manually to get access to his Inbox again. McAfee was completely unresponsive to him when he requested help. He's switching to VIPRE immediately and said he'll never run McAfee again.

2. Run daily anti-virus and anti-malware scans.

3. Make sure your definition files update automatically any time there's a new definition.

4. Have a good firewall installed. A good one should monitor both incoming and outgoing traffic. My firewall works in tandem with my VIPRE.

5. Always make sure a site has security certificates as represented by https and badging on the site before you enter personal information.

6. When you're on the computer be aware of any changes in the way your computer operates. If your processing speed suddenly slows down or it seems to be unresponsive to your keystrokes or any other kind of odd behavior, get suspicious. Contact your security software help center if you identify something and need help in understanding what to do.

Takeaway Truth

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure unless you're talking about computers in which case a little prevention may just save your identity, your bank account, and your sanity.

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