• What is a Keylogger?

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    LightLogger Keylogger - Monitoring Software
    A keylogger is a software program or hardware device that records the activities of users on a computer. Typically the records made by software keyloggers are stored somewhere on the computer, and those made by hardware keyloggers stay within the hardware device. Hardware keyloggers can take the form of special keyboards or of small adapters between the keyboard plug and the computer.

    Keyloggers record the keystrokes users make in computer applications and web pages. Many also record images from the computer’s monitor, the addresses of the web sites users visit, the programs users run and other types of information. The logs or reports generated by the keylogger show what users did on the computer at any point in time. Like any technology, keyloggers have good uses and bad uses. For example, keyloggers can be put to good use by caring parents who regularly monitor the activity of their children on the home computer.

    Keyloggers are usually hidden.


    Generally, keyloggers are hidden from computer users, who are not aware their activity on the computer is being monitored. Free software keyloggers and trial keylogger software are exceptions to the rule, since most of these announce their presence through on-screen pop ups or icons in the computer’s system tray. Some full-featured, paid keyloggers allow the operator to make the keylogger visible to users or to keep it hidden. For example, parents may want their children to know they are being monitored as an incentive for good behavior.

    Keyloggers can capture text in web, chat and email applications.


    Because they record every keystroke made on a computer, keyloggers usually record everything typed on the pages of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Likewise, keyloggers capture messages typed in online messengers, like Skype and MSN, and in email clients, like Outlook and Thunderbird. That makes keyloggers useful for parents too, since these are the ways children use computers to communicate. Some keyloggers will also log passwords typed in web pages and computer applications.

    Anti-malware programs may flag your keylogger software.


    Because keyloggers belong to the category of monitoring software, many anti-malware or anti-virus programs will detect and block them. Your anti-virus program may even call a keylogger on your computer “spyware.” That does not mean a keylogger installed by you on your computer is dangerous. Virtually all anti-virus programs allow you to create an exception that will allow the keylogger to run safely on your system.

    A keylogger is safe to use if (1) you installed it on your computer and (2) it is digitally signed. Digital code signing is a way of attaching a certificate to a computer program that proves it comes from the author named in the certificate and that it has not been changed or tampered with in any way. You can find information about a software’s certificate by right clicking the installation file or the software’s installed files and selecting the Digital Signatures tab. It is safe to use the software if you see a Digital Signatures tab and can find the statement “The digital signature is OK.”

    Use a keylogger whenever other people use your computer.


    Your computer contains much sensitive personal and financial information. In addition, your computer connects any user to the vast electronic world hosted by the internet. If you allow other people—friends, coworkers, family or children—to use your computer, it is essential that you have a tool you can use to check on their activities. Remember that keyloggers usually give you the option of letting others know you can monitor their actions, and doing so is a powerful inducement for safe, responsible computer use.

    In addition, experts recommend that parents with young children who use a computer prepare a set of rules for acceptable computer use and online behavior. This agreement between you and your kids should contain rules for courteous behavior on social networking sites and messaging apps or email plus a list of suspicious activities your children should report to you. Monitoring the activity of your children goes hand in hand with the rules they must follow, giving you a record of your kids’ activity and letting your children know you care about them.

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