If you’re a regular attendee to the cyber security sphere, you most likely came across the word – keylogger, keystroke logging or keystroke monitoring. All these words encompass the action of keylogging, which is an action generated identically to the written word.
Keylogging – when a computer user’s keystrokes on a computer, tablet or phone are recorded and tracked. It records every keystroke that the user types, then that information is uploaded and stored for the installer of the program.
Does it sound a bit of secret agent – 007 James Bond – to you? If it does, you might be surprised to know that it is a common practice by both companies and malicious criminals. We’d rather avoid being victim of the later.
The technology’s use for good or bad is in the control of the installer, but here we will briefly highlight how malicious criminals use the software for their own profit, and how companies can use it to safeguard their data.
In the Hands of the Malicious Criminal
We define ‘malicious criminal’ as any individual willing to do harm to a company through data exploitation. In the context of keystroke monitoring, it’s used quite often and well. Keyloggers are often used as a spyware tool to spy on their victim and steal personal information. In these situations, they will harvest passwords, credit card information, personal details and more. Then they will use that information for identity theft or other deeds.
How can they find you? The keylogger software can appear on your computer in two common ways. It can be downloaded through physical installation. This isn’t a far-fetched story, because recently a batch of HP laptop computers were shipped brand-new from the warehouse with keylogger software unrightfully installed. It can be downloaded on purpose by someone that wants to monitor your activity.
This also happens when employees engage in poor security practices. They leave their computer open-access with no pin or password, visit infected websites, click on tainted ads, or open attachments from people they don’t know. We like to call these people negligent employees.
The second common story, it can be downloaded onto a computer through malware unwittingly and executed as part of a rootkit or remote administration Trojan. The rootkit can then launch and operate in a stealth mode in order to evade detection and antivirus scans. Nasty business that malware.
In the Hands of a Company Protecting its Data
As we just learned, employees are negligent, and when they are negligent they are exploited by malicious criminals seeking valuable information. Data is the new gold, by the way.
Lucky, keystroke monitoring can also be used for good and in the protection and safeguarding of data. It can help you become compliant with the many regulations that are developing in recent years.
A keystroke monitoring software – like Teramind – captures all keyboard activity and syndicates it into comprehensible logs. These logs can be used to create a baseline for user-behavior analytics, which is a progressive approach to data protection.
When the strand of normal behavior deviates, the program administrator can be ‘pinged’ in real-time receiving instant feedback if there was a breach in security. Most employees are just negligent – as we said – but once in a blue moon, we will find malicious employees. Employees wishing to do harm through exploiting company data for their own monetary gain, or to simply hurt the company. Keystroke monitoring picks up on these individuals also.
Through keystroke monitoring you can see which specific text was copied and pasted, or lock out the user when certain information is logged on a negatively tagged website. All of these approaches are well-instructed ways to safeguard data through keystroke monitoring. Click below to learn more about Teramind.