What is a Keylogger?

A keylogger is a type of malicious software that records and stores the keys pressed by an individual on their computer. It can then report this information to the cybercriminal who deployed it, allowing them to gain access to confidential data like passwords or PIN codes. Though most commonly associated with criminal activity, keyloggers are also used for legitimate purposes such as parental control or employee monitoring.

Keyloggers are difficult to detect because they leave no trace in the computer’s memory and operate invisibly. They can be installed through malicious spam emails, downloads of infected files, drive-by downloads from exploitable websites, etc. Once installed, they will begin recording every keypress made by the user into a log file. This log file can then be sent back to the attacker remotely via FTP or email.

To protect against keyloggers, it is important to keep all computer software and operating systems updated with the latest security patches, as well as run a reputable antivirus program. It is also advisable to avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading files from unknown sources. Finally, using two-factor authentication wherever possible will ensure that even if your login credentials are compromised, your account remains secure.

Simplified Example

A keylogger is like a person who secretly writes down everything you type on your computer or phone. Just like how you might tell a friend what you did today, you might type that information into your computer or phone. But a keylogger is like a sneaky person who writes down everything you type without you knowing it, so they can read it later. It's like they're spying on you and taking a record of everything you do on your computer or phone. It's important to be aware of these things and keep your sensitive information safe.

History of the Term "KeyLogger"

The precise origin of the term "keylogger" is unclear, but it is thought to have arisen in the early 1970s, aligning with the advent of personal computers and the escalating concern regarding computer security. Computer programmers or security experts are believed to have coined the term to characterize a type of software or hardware capable of recording the keystrokes executed on a computer keyboard.


Banshee: This commercial keylogger works on Windows operating systems and can record passwords, emails, chat conversation logs, visited websites, screenshots, and more. It has a control panel with advanced features for remote monitoring of the user’s activity.

Spyrix: This is an all-in-one surveillance software system used to monitor computers from a distance. Its keylogging feature allows it to capture keystrokes made by the user in order to retrieve passwords and other confidential data from the computer being monitored.

Ardamax Keylogger: Ardamax is a free keylogger software that runs invisibly in the background of your device and records keystrokes, websites visited, and applications used. It also has a stealth mode which allows it to remain undetected by antivirus programs and other security measures. It is available for both Windows and Mac systems.

  • Malware: Any program or code designed to harm or exploit a computer system, network, or user's personal information.

  • Anti-Malware: Software designed to prevent, detect, and remove malware (malicious software) from computer systems and networks.