Protecting Yourself from the Silent Threat of Keyloggers
Keyloggers are among the most dangerous security threats facing computer users today. These applications record each and every keystroke made on an infected computer, making it simple to acquire information like usernames, passwords, charge card numbers, and bank account details. What are some practical steps that you can take to safeguard your machine from keyloggers?
Set Up a Firewall
Keyloggers need to be able to transmit the information gathered from your machine through your internet connection. Setting up a firewall can defend against keyloggers since it will keep track of your network’s activity, looking for anything suspicious. As soon as a program tries to transmit information, the firewall asks if you want to allow or block the program, so you’ll know if something fishy is going on. While using a firewall won’t guarantee 100% protection, it is an essential defense which should stop most keylogging threats.
Change Passwords Often
Altering your passwords often can help minimize the damage from a keylogging attack. When a password is stolen, it is not always used right away. If you change your passwords often, then any passwords that are recorded by the keylogger will likely be invalid by the time a hacker gets around to using them.
Use an Online Password Manager
Keyloggers simply record and transmit information from your keystrokes, and it is that simplicity that can be their undoing. One weak point of keyloggers is that they cannot record what is not typed. Using an online password manager with automatic form filling can defeat a keylogger, because you click to fill your info, not type. Since there are no keystokes, the keylogger can’t see passwords that you enter this way.
Update Your Software
Keyloggers, as well as other malware programs, often take advantage of software vulnerabilities and insert themselves onto your system without you, or even your anti-virus, knowing. Software developers release patches to fix these security loopholes all the time, so always update your operating system and all programs to the latest version. A good way to make sure you don’t forget is to check off automatic updates when you first install any program, to set and forget it.
Run a Virtual Machine
Utilizing a virtual machine will enable you to run software programs that use sensitive information on an operating system that runs in its own separate environment on your computer. Think of it as a computer within a computer. A keylogger will see it as just another program running on your machine, allowing you to work safely with no risk of keylogger infection.
Use an On-Screen Keyboard
As mentioned earlier, one thing that keyloggers don’t record is clicks. An on-screen keyboard uses clicks, not keystrokes, so it’s a fantastic way to enter sensitive information safely. If you’re using Windows, it comes with a built-in on-screen keyboard already installed. If you’re using something other than Windows, there are lots of on-screen keyboard options that you can get online for free.
These techniques can help safeguard your system from keyloggers by minimizing their chance to get onto your computer in the first place, and by reducing the amount of information they are able to steal if you do become infected. With a few precautions, you can lower your risk of becoming the next victim of a keylogger.