What is a Keylogger?
A keylogger builds a log of everything typed into a keyboard to be reviewed by a third party. Keyloggers can be used for legitimate purposes to troubleshoot networks, analyze employee productivity, or to assist law enforcement, for example; or they can be used for illegitimate purposes to surreptitiously spy on people for personal gain.
A keylogger is a type of surveillance software (considered to be either software or spyware) that has the capability to record every keystroke you make to a log file, usually encrypted. A keylogger recorder can record instant messages, e-mail, and any information you type at any time using your keyboard. The log file created by the keylogger can then be sent to a specified receiver. Some keylogger programs will also record any e-mail addresses you use and Web site URLs you visit. Keyloggers, as a surveillance tool, are often used by employers to ensure employees use work computers for business purposes only. Unfortunately, keyloggers can also be embedded in spyware allowing your information to be transmitted to an unknown third party.
Keylogging, surveillance and monitoring programs can have legitimate uses in contexts where an authorized user, business IT tech or administrator has knowingly installed them. Even a parent may use a keylogging program to record their children's online activities or a suspicious spouse might install one keep track of their partner. For more information about various types of keyloggers and the methods they use, please refer to Keystroke logging
Keep in mind that some legitimate programs are often detected by anti-virus or anti-malware scans as a "Risk Tool
", "Hacking Tool
", "Potentially Unwanted Program
", or even "Malware
" when that is not always the case. Potentially unwanted does not necessarily mean the file is malware or a bad program. It means it has the potential
for being misused by others. Anti-virus scanners cannot distinguish
between "good" and "malicious" use of such programs, therefore they may alert you or even automatically remove
them. However, there are malicious keyloggers as described in Introduction to Spyware Keyloggers
So the first thing I have to ask is the program considered legitimate and if you did not install the program, is it possible that your parents or another member of your family installed it?
Since keylogging, surveillance and monitoring programs can have legitimate uses, there can be potential legal ramifications
when assisting someone with installing or removing these types of programs. Even a recommendation could be construed as a gray area some attorneys would not hesitate to explore in order to seek successful litigation.
As such, most security forums will hesitate to get involved. A simple Google search should yield the information you seek without jeopardizing a staff member of the site you are asking questions. Our response is not intended to imply that any specific situation invokes legal concerns, but merely that it is impossible for us to make the determination as to the computer's ownership and who has what authority in any given situation.
Thank you for understanding.
Edited by quietman7, 27 October 2010 - 08:20 AM.