How can my computer get infected with key loggers?

Joann June 27, 2011

Can key loggers get into your computer without physically tampering with it? For example by sending you an unsuspecting e-mail and by mistake, or without knowing it, you open it?

What methods are possible for a key logger to gain access to your personal computer? I would really appreciate any input on this, as I’ve heard many different possibilities, but have a lot of doubt as to what to believe. Thank you!

  1. R Ze
    July 6, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Programs can do that. I remember reading an article about a program that came with a computer already installed which was a key logger.

  2. Michael_dowling
    July 2, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Wondering if scanning downloaded executables with an anti-virus program would find malware attached to otherwise harmless freeware?

  3. sushil kumar
    July 1, 2011 at 4:03 am


  4. Smayonak
    June 28, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Most keyloggers have the ability to transmit data to whomever installed the keylogger in the first place, meaning they use the internet.

    You can actually download a firewall that will monitor your internet activity and warn you anytime a program attempts to access the net, without your explicit permission. It can even block unwanted web access.

    Unfortunately, most systems that have keyloggers installed have also been totally compromised by viruses and a firewall might have only limited success in blocking traffic.

  5. Anonymous
    June 27, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    look for your opend ports and close the suspected ones


    on command prompt type: netstat

    open TCP/IP ports
    netstat -anop TCP

    to list open UDP ports
    netstat -anop UDP

    • Jeffery Fabish
      June 27, 2011 at 9:30 pm

      Keyloggers that upload via FTP would not show up on these lists, unless you were running them 24/7. They upload the file and close the connection, simple as that. Needless to say, this method is highly fallible. 

  6. Mike
    June 27, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    As for software keyloggers [and malware in general] the options are pretty much infinite:
    an infected USB-Stick or external Hard Drive, Email attachments (Word, Excel, PDF, Zip,...), insecure downloads, via web technologies like Flash or Javascript (although nowadays very uncommon) ...

    Just looking at "insecure downloads" there is a long list of does & don't

    For example downloading a software or tool directly from the developer doesn't mean it's safe to use. It is common practice for hackers to write some application people may find useful and hide malware within. 

    Another common practice is to take some known tool and redistribute (mirror download) with an infected installer or even setup a fake homepage to make it look like it's the developers site.

    Other options include Peer-to-Peer (P2P) downloads, downloads from sites like rapidshare or mediafire, and ... and ... and

    The best practice to stay secure is to make sure you are downloading the tool from a trustworthy source. If you are not sure whether you can trust the developer or if it's a fake site it is always a good idea to use some trustworthy service like CNET Downloads. Last but not least always keep your Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware updated!

  7. Jeffery Fabish
    June 27, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    ["Malware" is a catch-all term used to define all malicious applications]

    Malware in general can attack you from a variety of different methods. Those most common is known as "binding", in which they take a legitimate program and attach their malware to it. This gives the impression that when the user executes the file, everything is okay, when in essence there is malware as well. 

    Keyloggers can be installed both physically (USB/PS2 converter - Less common) or by software (very common). 
    Depending on your email provider, simply opening an email message shouldn't infect you as you haven't executed any code, yet. Opening an attachment very well might, if it's infected. A very common approach for hackers is to put their malware up on torrent sites labeled as something people want, such as "The Hangover Part 2 DVDRip.avi". when yes, it's an avi, but it's also binded with malware. Sometimes however, it's not even an AVI file. Since Windows extensions are hidden by default, they can name it file.avi when in reality it's file.avi.exe. It's not all bad though, there are tools to help you prevent keyloggers from being successful. "KeyScrambler" installs a low level kernel driver which "scrambles" or obfuscates your legitimate keys (a,b,c,d) into totally random keys (s$3s, 234s1, 23r^9) which renders a keylogger infective. LastPass stores passwords for you so that you don't have to type them in, needless to say if you don't type in your passwords, a keylogger isn't much good. On Screen Keyboards allow you to completely bypass typing any keys what-so-ever by simply clicking on the character from an on screen keyboard. Windows has one installed by default (Start->All Programs->Accessories->Ease of Access->On screen keyboard). Keyscrambler:

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