In this article we will discuss the functions and types of keyloggers, and how you can use them to confirm or deny your beliefs that your spouse is cheating on you. We will also include information on how to detect a keylogger on computer just to keep you informed on how to protect your pc or laptop. For specific keylogger product reviews, follow the links below to relevant articles. This article is only a general overview on keyloggers and how we can apply them to catching a cheater, not a product recommendation page.
Before using any type of keylogger, spy software, cell phone tracker, GPS device and similar spy gear, be sure to do your own research on your local state laws. Each state law differs in regards to monitoring private activities, and it is absolutely illegal to install keyloggers or similar devices on other people’s properties. It’s common that keylogger manufacturers tell you it’s “100% legal to own” but they usually leave out the part where it’s illegal to use in your state/country, so don’t get in to trouble and do research or you can get sued if you get caught.
What Are Keyloggers?
Keyloggers, (also called keystroke loggers, keystroke recorders, or keystroke trackers) are devices or programs that monitor a computer or laptop’s keystrokes. There have also been recent keyloggers designed specifically for cellphones, which are called cell phone trackers, or cellphone spies. This means anything typed into a computer, laptop, or mobile phone will be recorded by your cell phone keylogger.
These spy gadgets or softwares are often used in monitoring employees, or protecting one’s own pc or mac from sleuths who snoop through your files, or copy files without permission. The best keyloggers are capable of storing all keystrokes, passwords[, and websites visited on the internet. The more advanced keyloggers even take screenshots and remotely report all their findings to you via email.
Types of Keyloggers
There are two types of keyloggers available in the market, the simpler hardware keyloggers, and the more complex software keyloggers. The latter being the more popular form of keylogger, because of the malicious people that spread it on the internet in hopes of stealing your personal information, online bank account or paypal passwords.
Before buying anything, make sure that it is compatible with your OS (windows/mac) and that it has a free trial period, or free trial download (limited features and time limit).
1. Hardware Keyloggers
Hardware Keyloggers are the devices you connect at the back of the PC. These don’t work for laptops unless they are using an external keyboard, which is a rare sight. The advantage of hardware based keyloggers is that they will not require any type of installation. It’s basically plug and play. That means if your personal computer is armed with an antivirus or spy detection software, you will have no chance of being detected. Another pro is that they are portable keyloggers
Before you select your keylogger, make sure you know what type of port your computer uses. Most modern pcs have both, but just to be sure check the back of your computer or unplug your keyboard and look at the port. The two type of hardware keyloggers are the USB keylogger and the PS/2 Keylogger. As seen on the picture to your left, the USB has a rectangular port and the PS/2 has a round port.
The pricing of these keyloggers will depend on the amount of storage space you select. If you use a hardware based keylogger and can give it daily checkups, then you will do fine with a cheap $10 or so version with as little as 2 gigabytes. If you leave the house for days or even weeks, to make sure you record everything that could possibly be typed on your computer get the biggest storage you can get.
The disadvantage of hardware keyloggers is that if your spouse, kids, or anyone you want to monitor when using your computer checks the back/keyboard cord, they will detect it visually, unless they are not very tech savvy. Most people won’t know what that small piece of extra hardware is, very few will.
Although not usually bound by computer/laptop OS, you should check if it’s a windows 7 keylogger only, or windows xp keylogger only, etc.
2. Software Keyloggers
These spy programs are what you can use for both laptops and personal computers. It used to be rare to find a software keyloggers for macs, but they do exist now. The advantage of using this over their hardware cousin is that because it is software based, the features will only be limited by the developers. Common computer monitoring software features are the ability to take screenshots at set intervals, log the websites visited, log instant messenger conversations and save transcripts, and store password files. There are simple keyloggers that function almost identical to hardware based keyloggers, but there are also advanced keyloggers that will let you monitor your computer remotely.
Say you are vacationing, and the only person at home is your spouse or a relative. You could monitor how they use your computer or laptop remotely by having your spy program email you daily reports of the activity it recorded.You can’t do this with a hardware keylogger because those are simple plug and play gadgets, where you need to physically access the data through the computer’s interface.
Another advantage of using a software keylogger is that you will not need to spend more money because you need larger disk space. The software uses your laptop’s or computer’s own hardware to store the data before either sending it to your email, or just manually review it through the interface and delete it.
The biggest pro in my opinion is that if you suspect your spouse is cheating, there will be no chance of them accidentally discovering your plans on monitoring your home computer because they saw the product you ordered. You can download software based keyloggers instantly, most offer a free trial too.
A disadvantage is that some anti virus software targets specific software keyloggers which cause them to either stop working, or be detected. This is a temporary setback if you bought a high quality software based keylogger because these are commonly patched to counter anti viri software. The cycle continues on as both softwares patch over each other.
Make sure, especially for mac users, that your software will be compatible to your OS. Majority of software keyloggers are for windows 7, windows xp, or vista. Mac keylogger softwares are rare, so you should know that any keylogger out there is most likely made for windows unless otherwise stated.
How To Detect Keylogger On Computer
Anti Keyloggers are softwares similar to anti virus programs. They can limit the data transferred or completely nullify software based keyloggers. If your current computer or laptop has none, you should install a combination of anti keylogger, anti virus, and firewall softwares to protect you against keyloggers that may be installed in your computer, or (accidentally) downloaded to your computer from malicious websites.
Just because you have installed anti keylogger software does not mean you are fully protected against someone recording your keystrokes on the keyboard, because paid software keyloggers, especially those that are subscription based, will consistently patch their software to make invisible keyloggers, or temporarily undetectable keyloggers. Keylogger detection will never be 100%, no matter what your software provider says. If you want complete, or as close to complete, keylogger detection choose an anti keylogger software that is subscription based, or that guarantees regular updates. Couple that with similar anti virus and firewall programs. The firewall software is just for those specific keyloggers that transmit data remotely via the internet. Commonly used by hackers.
There are absolutely zero ways an anti keylogger software can protect you from hardware keyloggers because the keyboard is directly connected to the keylogger. The data/key strokes are fed first to the keylogger before even reaching your computer, where the software is installed in. But if you’re reading this, then you’ll know to just check the back of your computer to avoid being spied on.
Beware of “Free keylogger downloads”
It’s common to see “Keylogger FREE download!” on a lot of websites, try it yourself and google “spy on computer free” or “free spy software for PC”. Wonder what the catch is? Most of these free software are actually used to track YOUR keystrokes. What they give you may or may not work, but most of these sites are just out to install their keyloggers on your computers to steal your personal information or bank account information. Don’t get tricked into downloading freeware keyloggers.
If you want to save money when trying to catch a cheating spouse, go for the free options described in the setting traps article. Keyloggers, cellphone trackers and other hardware or software is NOT the place where you try and save a few dollars. If you do, you are risking your valuable information being stolen by some hacker by downloading their “freeware” keylogger. If you choose to ignore this warning, you should thoroughly research the product you are downloading, as well as have anti keyloggers, anti virus, and a firewall installed.
A good free firewall is “Zonealarm”, and a good free anti virus is “avast! antivirus”, both are free to download for personal use. IMO, don’t risk it. Would you rather save $30-100, and risk having your information stolen by someone over the internet, or just pick a secure reliable software that won’t infect your PC?
Please try out the free ways mentioned in this site before you download freeware key recorders. I insist. I don’t want you losing your personal information because you wanted to save a few bucks. Most of these malware disguised as freeware are responsible for people losing thousands of dollars from their credit card or bank accounts.
“The log files contained personal information on more than 170,000 victims, including passwords, PINs, user names, and so on. They also contained information, including PINs, on over 10,000 bank accounts, over 140,000 email passwords and the access details of nearly 80,000 members of social networking sites such as Facebook and Hi5.”