How to Check for Keystroke Loggers

By David Somerset

Keystroke loggers track everything that you type.
i keyboard #5 image by Adam Borkowski from

Keystroke loggers are becoming more common. Keystroke loggers come in two types: hardware loggers that physically attach to your computer, and software loggers that are programs which run on your computer. Either type of keystroke logger can be a security threat, as they will store your passwords and other sensitive data you type. An attacker can then retrieve the files saved by the keystroke logger and gain access to your accounts. You should check your system for keystroke loggers if you suspect that you are being spied on by a malicious user.

Check your hardware for a physical keystroke logger. Look at the place where your keyboard plugs into your computer if you are using a desktop computer. Ensure that there are no devices located between the keyboard cable and the computer case. Remove any intermediate devices; they are potential keystroke loggers.

Open the Task Manager by pressing the "Control" key, the "Alt" key, and the "Delete" key at the same time and clicking "Task Manager." Look for any suspicious programs in the running applications list. Click on any suspicious application. Choose the "End Task" option to end these tasks.

Check the installed programs list. Click on "Start" and then "Control Panel." Open the "Add or Remove Programs" icon. Browse the list of installed programs. Click on any suspicious programs in the list and choose the "Uninstall" option to remove them from your computer.

Run an anti-virus scan with your preferred software. Any anti-virus software should be able to detect keystroke loggers and remove them from your system. Allow the anti-virus program to delete or quarantine any threats that it finds when you run the scan of your computer.

Install a spyware sweeper. Purchase a program from your local computer store or download one from the Internet. Run a scan of the entire PC. Remove the threats that are found by the anti-spyware software.

Use a software firewall. Force all programs to ask for access to the Internet. Watch for any suspicious program requesting to send files across your network or the Internet. Deny network access to any program you don't recognize.