You may be aware that clever hackers have created programs called keyloggers, which record your keystrokes on your personal computer, and you may have upped your computer security in response. However, someone you trust might also be monitoring your behavior, and that includes your boss or even someone in your household. How can you tell if a keylogger is on your computer, and how do you handle the situation?
How To Tell If A Keylogger Has Been Installed
First, purchase and run an anti-spyware program, and let the program remove anything that appears to be a risk. Or, if you use a PC, press Ctrl + Alt + Delete all at once, and read the task list that appears in the Task Manager. Go online, and look up any programs that seem unfamiliar. Keep in mind that, if you do find a keylogging program and you try to uninstall it, it will be evident to the person who installed the keylogger.
Not all keyloggers come in the form of computer programs. People can install external keyloggers, or they can have chips embedded in the machine you use, which is more likely in the workplace than at home.
If Your Boss Has A Keylogger On Your Computer
Unfortunately, you don't have many rights in this situation. An employer, no matter how small, can download and install keylogging software on your work computer. Then, he can go in and see whether you've been doing work or shopping online all day. Even if you are computer-savvy and install programs that fight spyware, your employer will find out, and you run the risk of upsetting him. Trying to uninstall a keylogger might raise a red flag that you are up to no good. So proceed with caution.
Rick Brenner, principal of Chaco Canyon Consulting of Cambridge, Massachusetts, recommends, "The easiest and safest thing to do is to quietly circumvent the software altogether by using a private smartphone or PDA to access the Web, send or receive e-mail, or whatever else you want to do on the Internet."
If you are still concerned, read your employee manual, and ask questions of your HR department or your union representative to find out if the company uses keyloggers. Most employers will tell you up front if they are monitoring your work. If you aren't sure, assume that you are being monitored, and behave accordingly. Even if you are just Web surfing during your lunch hour, remember that where you go and what you type-including comments on blogs, forum posts or job surfing-can be read by your superiors.
If Someone In Your Family Has A Keylogger On Your Computer
You have been put in a tough position. Someone in your family, whether it's a concerned parent or a suspicious spouse, feels the need to monitor you. This indicates a trust issue, and you may want to bring matters out into the open. Ask your parent or spouse why they felt the need to install the keylogger, and let them know that you feel your privacy has been breached.
If deeper issues are lying behind this situation, you may need to discuss those rather than the keylogger. In order for your family member to start trusting you, you also need to prove that you are worthy of their trust. But, if you have your own computer and would rather avoid a showdown, simply stick to using that computer and change the password to your computer often so no one can get on and install a keylogger in the first place.
How does a keylogger work? Understanding this spyware from the inside and out is an important first step in protecting the personal information you send online.
How does spyware work? Spyware enters your computer when you browse the Web. Sometimes, the spyware involves tracking your consumer habits, but, other times, it has more nefarious purposes.