When you think of keystroke logging, or keylogging, you might conjure up thoughts of cheating spouses, employee supervision or parental controls. These are certainly common reasons for tracking keystroke history but as technology website The Register reports, even the FBI uses keyoggers as a form of surveillance. The federal Bureau of investigation used a keystroke logger to harvest evidence about Nicodemo S. Scarfo Jr. and his mafia activity in the early 2000s. You can install a program on a computer in your home or business to track keystroke history.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Hardware keylogger
Download and install a keystroke logger program onto your computer. Independent websites such as Monitoring Software provide reviews and ratings of keystroke loggers which are free or available for purchase. Follow any instructions or prompts the installation tool gives.
Open the keylogger program and follow any instructions to customise settings. Keyloggers such as REFOG have options to hide the program icon from your desktop, if you want to run the keylogger without others knowing.
Press the appropriate button or link to initiate the keylogger, when you desire it to run. This may be before another person logs onto the computer or before a time period when no one should be using it.
Access the program reports to determine keystrokes and other computer activity.
Press the appropriate button to deactivate the keylogger when you do not need it to run. This may be when you have sufficient information or when you use the computer and do not need to track keystrokes.
Purchase a hardware keylogger. Electronics stores, online retailers such as Amazon and speciality stores sell these devices.
Install the hardware onto your computer or system. SpyCop, the manufacturer of privacy software, explains one type of keylogger which are "about the size of a AA battery that are plugged in-line with your keyboard."
Plug this style of keylogger into your computer and then plug your keyboard into the other end of the keylogger. You can also purchase keyloggers which you connect between a USB port and USB keyboard such as the USB keylogger sold by KeyDemon. The company describes their product as having "2 Gigabytes memory capacity, organised into an advanced flash FAT file system"
Follow manufacturer instructions to retrieve keystroke history. For instance, Keydemon users press a three-key combination to access the keystroke log.
Uninstall your keylogger when you no longer need it. According to SpyCop, some hardware keyloggers require you to turn off your computer before disconnecting the hardware. However, the KeyDemon websites explains that you can uninstall their keylogger "even with the computer up and running."
Tips and warnings
- Keylogger software may also be able to log computer activity such as internet history.
- Hardware keyloggers have a data and/or keystroke limit. The product packaging or description should list this information.
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