What’s a Keylogger and How Can You Prevent It From Capturing Your Passwords?

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Would you let someone shoulder surf while you type in your most valuable passwords? No way! Would you let them record your keystrokes using software? Maybe. Because you don’t know it’s happening.

Keylogger spyware captures keystrokes in order to gain access to your accounts or sell your information to the highest bidder. Sometimes bosses, parents or significant others use them, too, so they can see what you’ve been up to. Want to keep your keystrokes to yourself? Here are eight ways:

Keyloggers are designed to recognize and capture usernames, passwords, credit card information, bank account information, screenshots, your clipboard, your browsing history — different keyloggers capture different types of data. They get into your computer in all the usual ways (emails, downloads, links, infected files) and sometimes even remotely or by someone with access to your computer.

PCs are targeted more often than Macs, and Androids are targeted more often than iOS devices (non-jailbroken iOS devices are pretty safe). But no matter what type of device you use, you should be keylogger savvy:

1. Be very aware of what you open, click and download — of course! You’re a target for wide-net data fishing expeditions and you know it.

2. Don’t enter sensitive information into other people’s computers. You don’t know their cyber habits or who might be spying on them.

3. Install anti-keylogging software. Many anti-malware programs don’t include anti-loggers so try SpyShelter (Windows, free, upgrades available) or Zemana AntiLogger (Windows, $29.95) or another reputable option.

4. Install a virtual keyboard app. Instead of typing in your login information and account numbers, use a virtual keyboard that you click with your mouse. While not 100% foolproof, there are several free options to choose from and are included in some anti-malware packages like Kaspersky Total Security ($79.95).

5. Install software that encrypts every key you type.
Try KeyScrambler (Windows, $29.99 and $44.99) or Zemana Anti-KeyLogger Module (Windows, free and $29.99).

6. Use one-time passwords and two- or three-factor authentication whenever possible. They’re a smart way to avoid keyloggers and hackers because they can’t get in with just your login information.

7. Don’t log in to your accounts on a public computer. Even email. Ever.

8. Use a password and data management system.
Cloud services like LastPass or Dashlane 3 will securely manage your passwords so you don’t have to key them in — or even remember them.

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