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KEYLOGGERS: DECODING ONE OF THE MOST COMMON HACKING TECHNIQUES

WHAT ARE KEYLOGGERS AND HOW DO THEY WORK?

There are a number of tools and techniques that ethical as well as black hat hackers use to launch cyber attacks and break into secure systems and networks. Among some of the most commonly used ones are keyloggers.
Keyloggers, as suggested by the term, logs the input you give to your keyboard by striking certain keys in a certain pattern to accomplish a particular task. A keylogger records your entries and then can be interpreted by the hacker to make out exactly what you searched for or what you typed into a field on your screen on a given website.
This type of software is installed onto your system or device as a malware if you become a target of some kind of social engineering technique. On the other hand, we also have hardware based keyloggers where the device is placed between the keyboard connector and the computer port. Regardless of the type of keylogger used, the purpose of the technology is to record your keystrokes and then send them to the third party hacker who employed it, who then uses various tools and algorithms to recognize patterns and decode the data.

WHAT ARE THE USES OF KEYLOGGING IN ETHICAL HACKING?

There are a variety of applications of keyloggers, particular in the field of ethical hacking:

Tracking Your Spouse

One of the most popular applications of keylogging in the world of ethical hacking is to track the activity of your spouse or partner if you suspect them being unfaithful for any reason. The hacker will install a keylogger onto the mobile device or computer system of your partner and then use it to log and monitor their online and local activity such as on apps like Facebook and WhatsApp or through text messaging. This is not only limited to spouses- keyloggers can be used to spy on any other family member or friend in a time of need.

Parental Controls

Another personal application of this technique is for the sake of gaining better control over the kind of content your children consume through their devices. A keylogger can enable you to keep track of your child’s internet and other digital activity without having to rummage through their browser history which can just as easily be deleted. This will enable you to ensure that your children are being safe online.

Employee Monitoring

Some employers also like to install keyloggers on company computer systems to monitor employee activity and ensure that they are committing to their office time as they are required to.

Data Theft

Lastly, apart from ethical hacking, keyloggers are very commonly used by malicious hackers to figure out account credentials and steal sensitive information such as social security numbers, credit card details, and other banking and financial credentials. They can also use these logs to figure out your passwords and hack into your social media accounts.