Keyloggers are surveillance software programs known for monitoring your keystrokes, capturing information and transmitting what they capture over your Internet connection. However, some keyloggers can capture screens and take snapshots while others may turn on video/audio recorders and transmit that information.
As noted by Evolution13, not all keyloggers are malicious or dangerous. Many keylogging, surveillance and monitoring programs can have legitimate uses in contexts where an authorized user, business IT tech, employer or administrator has knowingly installed them.
- Keyloggers can be used by system administrators to troubleshoot networks.
- Keyloggers can be used by employers to monitor employees, track performance and ensure they are abiding by company policies.
- Keyloggers can be used by law enforcement to analyze and track incidents linked to the use of computers subject to an ongoing investigation.
Even a parent may use a keylogging program to record their children's online activities or a suspicious spouse might install one to keep track of their partner. It's the misuse of a keylogger (and similar software tools) that makes it's action malicious rather than the keylogger itself. Thus, security scanners may not detect all types of keylogging programs.
When legitimate keylogging programs are detected by anti-virus or anti-malware scanners, they are typically identifid as a "risk Tool" or "suspicious" due to its functionality, behavior and potential misuse by others. Anti-virus scanners cannot distinguish between "good" and "malicious" use of such programs, therefore they may alert you, automatically remove them or in some cases may just ignore the keylogger due to the possibility of legal issues resulting from detecting a legitimate program.
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