In this article I will give an introduction about keylogger software. The essential idea about keylogger software is, this is software that you install onto a computer and it will track everything that gets typed into the computer. So if somebody types a username in, that will be grabbed. Somebody types a password in, that will be grabbed, too. If somebody types a search query or a paper or a document or any of that kind of thing, all of that information will be stored so that it can be reviewed later. Or depending of the software it will be stored and then it will be sent out. It can be eather be emailed out or ftp-ed out or basically somehow moved off the computer to a remote location so that you can essentially spy on the computer.
So the classic idea of this keylogger software is that it was able to grab text. Anything you typed into the computer will be grabbed. That is the classic idea of keylogger software back from about 2000. Now as things continue on and as things progress not only do computers advance but also this type of software. So nowadays not only it is keylogger software grab text that people type into a computer, but it also can grab screenshots, it can grab chat messages going back and forth. And it can email all of that information out. There is a lot of functionality to this keylogger software now.
There is different ways to do keylogging. But in this article I will write about keylogger software. This is software that you download and you install onto a windows computer. Now when you are thinking about keylogger software, that is one of those things that there are million different versions of. One thing that I want to warn about is that when you are using keylogger software you have to be very carefull about who you trust to create your keylogger software. Any hacker can crate a keylogger software. Building keylogger software for people that study computer science is no big deal. So the question then has to be is "What additional functionality is within the keylogger software that you do not know about?"
So if you go out and download keylogger software from any website on the internet and install it onto your computer, you may find out that some hacker created that keylogger software. And now not only are you spying on the computer, but somebody else is grabbing all of that information, too. So this is one thing that you have to be very carefull about. So if you go out there and you download and install keylogger software onto a computer from a source that is trying to spy on your information, you may just have compromised your network.
When you try different kind of keyloggers, one of the things I will tell you is this: Most of the decent keylogger softwares is not free. They all have free trials. So I would be worried if you do download free stuff. Remember: Nothing in the world is free. The question is how you pay for it. So I would rather pay with my credit card than in ways I may not realize.
You should be very carefull about using this keylogger software. In the United States legally we have something called Expectational Privacy. Or the question of what is the expectational privacy of the user of a system? If you are an employee, even if the boss ownes the computer, the question is as the employee: What is the expectation of privacy that you have to use that computer? This is very important to understand. If you are going to be using keylogger software in a business enviroment, you need to go talk to your lawyer long before you install the first piece of software onto anybody's computer. Because every juristiction, every state and federal law has different laws about what you are ably to collect. Even from employees and even from systems that you in fact own. If you violate those laws, if you find out that your employee is looking at porn during the work day and then you fire them because you had keylogger software onto the computer, they in fact can come back and sue you. Because you violated their rights.
In America, if you are going to be using this keylogger software, the first thing that you should be doing is going and talking to a lawer. Because you have to be carefull about this stuff. I know a lot of people dont feel that they will be take into prison or that they will be sued or anything like that for using keyloggers. The reality is: it is not that using software like this when the end-user doesnt know about. The question is not wether it is or is not illegal. It generally is illegal. The question is wether lawyers currently know enough about technology to sue you or to take you to court. As with all things lawyers are becoming more educated about technology and computers. They are going to more and more realize that they can just take the boss to the ringer over using software like this.
So make sure, if you are going to use this in a commercial, in a business enviroment, that you go talk to lawyers and I would say you make sure all of those warnings are there: basically legally it is the expectational privacy, if the employee had an expectation and felt that their communication were private, that is usually what trumps all out. So if you are gonna be using this keylogger software, put warnings everywhere saying "all keystrokes will be tracked in this business".
Monitoring your kids
A lot of people out there think about keylogger software on their kids computers. With kids it is most likely it is not as much a problem with the whole illegal issue. But you run into a trust issue. It is kind of one of those weird things: Everybody in the world is up and arms and screaming about the NSA tracking their communication. And yet those same people seem absolutely ok with tracking all of their kids communications. Changes are they will be pissed off if they find out that they are monitored by their parents. So you might want to be very cautious with using this keylogger software because you might create far more problems than you are trying to prevent. At the end of the day there might be other solutions than keyloggers for trying to deal with things with your kids.
Something like openDNS, using that on your network to prevent them from being able to go to porn sites entirely for example. Because putting up walls and fences does not irritate people to the same degree as spying does. So if you put up systems on your home network that prevent your kids from going to porn sites, the changes are that wil cause far less stress between you and your child, than spying on them to see if they do go to porn sites. But that is between you and your kids.
Monitoring your spouse
A lot of people believe that they can spy on their spouses or their fiancees. This is again when we go back into the legal area. It is illegal to spy on another adult when they have an expectation of privacy, even if they are your spouse or your fiancee or your girlfriend/boyfriend and so on and so forth. If they are an adult, it is a fellownee offense to spy on them and install this keylogger software on to their computer and then track what they are doing.
Most of the time in the real world this does not get to court cases. But if you are thinking about divourcing your spouse or if you have an abusive relationship, there is a difference between people who trust each other and people who really dont trust each other and really want to cause as much pain possible. There have been court cases, spouses, fiancees lovers and so on, have been sued for installing keylogger software. So as far as adults are concerned, even if they are your spouse, there is a legal risk.
Monitoring unauthorized PC access
The only reason that keylogger software can be used without any fear and risk is if I wanted to literally install it on my own computer because I thought somebody else was using my computer with unauthorized PC access. So basically if I thought that janitorial staff was using my computer to look at porn. Or that for example janitorial staff was trying to hack into my computer then I may install a keylogger software. So I can track if anything unautharized was done.
The other type of keyloggers that you will see is little devices that you can put onto keyboards. So what this is is you plug into the back of the computer and then you plug the keyboard end into it and then it will actually track all of the data that goes from the keyboard and track all of those keystrokes. That is a different kind of keylogger.