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Are hidden software programs recording your keystrokes?

Update 7/3/19: A previous version of this story included a website that we don’t recommend because it is not https-secure. This is a revised version of the story. We apologize for any confusion.

Keyloggers are hidden programs that can be installed on computers to record keystrokes. Legitimate uses for keyloggers exist — certain types of businesses might install them on employees’ computers, especially if they deal with highly sensitive information. Parents might also use them on their kids’ computers, but there are better programs to monitor kids’ activities online. Generally, the average person doesn’t need a keylogger.

Who does? Well, some bad people used them to steal personal information.

How to find keyloggers

While keyloggers are difficult to find, they aren’t impossible. We checked with John and Jeremy, WestStar’s IT superheroes, and they told us, “Most anti-virus and endpoint protection programs automatically check for this.” You don’t need a special download to detect a keylogger. They recommend antivirus/malware protection programs from well-known brands such as Malware Bytes, BitDefender, Avast, and Kaspersky. Some of these work cross-platform, meaning they’ve got versions that are available for multiple devices for your home or business.


Related: Best antivirus programs for your Mac computer or laptop


Should you even worry about keyloggers?

Our team says no, as long as you have an updated computer and your operating system is up to date. However, if you suspect someone — a jealous ex, a distrustful employee or a crooked acquaintance — might have installed one on your computer, start by following the advice in the previous section. Update your OS and install antivirus and malware software.


Related: 3 security programs every PC owner should have


Additionally, check your list of installed programs. For Mac, go to your desktop and click Finder in the upper left. Then open a new finder window. Select your Applications folder and review your installed programs. You can group your applications by clicking the View option in the menu and then “Use Groups.” This will help you weed through all of the apps on your computer.

On a PC, go to your Control Panel as if you are going to uninstall a program (don’t worry, we won’t delete anything yet). Select Programs and then “Uninstall a Program.” There you will see a list of all the programs that are installed on your computer.

What are you looking for? Anything unfamiliar or suspicious. If you don’t recognize the name of something, do a Google search. Obviously, anything with the word “keylogger” in the title would be a dead giveaway. Some other known keylogging programs are Refog, Spytech and DanuSoft.

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