An old concept of computing that has been around since the early days of hacking has been key logging. It is the concept of capturing every keystroke entered through the keyboard to the computer and sending those values off to a hacker. Though not as prominent as they once were, key loggers are still part of the virus world today and are still a threat to personal security.
Often, key loggers can be injected with a virus into the user’s system and start working immediately. Each time a key is pressed, the logger remembers that press and sends the corresponding command back to the creator. Let’s say you are entering information in to a website for an online purchase. The usual fields are:
First Name, Last Name, Address, Credit Card Number, CVVC, Expiration Date
The the key logger picks up all that information, and relays it in a message like this to the attacker: Bob[TAB]Smith[TAB]1234 Fake Street[TAB]7891634875617828[TAB]202[TAB]03/2015[ENTER]
The information sent is so small and minute that you would never know it was on your system and being transmitted, but they see all your credit card information clear as day.
Thankfully, due to the nature of Key Loggers, today’s anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-spyware programs all have the ability to see these viruses very easily, so they are not as much as a threat as they once were.
There is another type of key logger, however, that is nowhere near as popular and much harder to implement, and is usually used legally by corporations and government agencies, and that is the form of a hardware key logger. It looks much like a thumb drive and is no bigger than one. It goes in between your keyboard’s plug and the computer and is used to record all your keystrokes, as well as sometimes sites visited, however these have gone by the wayside as well because of the advancement in software-based computer monitoring.