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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Keystroke logging - keylogging

Keystroke logging (often called keylogging) is a diagnostic tool used in software development that captures the user's keystrokes. It can be useful to determine sources of error in computer systems and is sometimes used to measure employee productivity on certain clerical tasks. Such systems are also highly useful for law enforcement and espionage—for instance, providing a means to obtain passwords or encryption keys and thus bypassing other security measures. However, keyloggers are widely available on the Internet and can be used by private parties to spy on the computer usage of others. Keystroke logging can be achieved by both hardware and software means. Hardware key loggers are commercially available devices which come in three types: inline devices that are attached to the keyboard cable, devices which can be installed inside standard keyboards, and actual replacement keyboards that contain the key logger already built-in. The inline devices have the advantage of being able to be installed instantly. However, while they may go unnoticed for quite some time, they are easily detected visually upon closer inspection. Of the three devices available, the most difficult to install is also the most difficult to detect. The device that installs inside a keyboard (presumably the keyboard the target has been using all along) requires soldering skill and extended access to the keyboard to be modified. However, once in place, this type of device is virtually undetectable.

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