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Final Research Project

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By tmidge2385
Words 1118
Pages 5
Trevor Reischel
Computer Structure and Logic
Final Research Project
Therese Schutte
08/30/12

Trojan horses, bit lockers, and viruses. All of these things are a part of malware. How do we protect ourselves from these things? It can be done easily with a strong anti-virus system and monitoring what sites is safe, but what other threats are out there? A huge threat that not many people are even aware of are key loggers. Key loggers are hard to detect and get set up so the computer user will never suspect to be a victim. What is a key logger you ask? Now that’s a good question.
There are many different definitions of what a key logger is, but to keep it simple, a key logger is a tool that can be either hardware or software that monitors your computer and the keystrokes you make. When I say keystrokes I mean the buttons on your computer that you press. This means that any username and password data you type can be picked up by the key logger and the person, or third party in control of it, can access you accounts and personal information. With this in mind, it can be pretty scary. Your username and passwords, the very things that is supposed to keep you safe, is betraying you. So how do you even get a key logger?
You can acquire a key logger in many different ways. The easiest way to get one without knowing, which I call the old fashioned way, is to have someone install it without you knowing. I refer to it as old fashioned because with how advanced technology has come in this day and age, the next way to get them is by unknowingly downloading it. With the old fashioned way a person you know installs it themselves, hiding it within your computer. With downloading it could be hidden with an attachment of some “free” program or game you decided to download.
So if that’s what they are, and how you get them, then how do they work? Key loggers work in many different ways. Most key loggers now are software. The hardware based ones go back to the old fashioned way because they need to be put on the computer. These types could look like anything from a USB to a extension port adapter. I will include a picture later. How these work are that, since they are connected to your computer, they use a program to log and follow every key you press. It is sort of like your internet history, but for the words you type instead. Later, the person who installs I comes and uninstalls it to get the information it recorded. The software ones, which you accidentally downloaded, can use things like root kits to access your data it stores. It then uploads it online to whoever is in control of it. These are more popular because they never have to see your computer to get access to it. According to one source, they typically are run with two programs. A DLL (dynamic link library) which is the part that records everything, and a .exe file that installs the DLL and lets it run.
Now that we have that covered, it’s on to what you need to know. How do I protect myself from key loggers? Well unfortunately this is no sure-fire way to protect you from this threat. There are things, however, that you can do to try to detect if your computer has one installed and protect you. One source I found suggests that you regularly check the processes running on your system (located in the task manager) for anything that does not belong. Also, if you have a firewall on your computer, this can help protect you because it will alert you of a program trying to upload information to the internet. If you have a really great anti-virus system, these will notice known key logger signatures and help remove them from your computer.
Now I bet your wondering, after reading my paper, how the heck is this related to this class at all? That’s a good question, and I am here to tell you how. I find that it is very much related to this class because we had a entire lesson plan on security. We went over malware and things like Trojan horses. A key logger, while may be used for other reasons, fits right into this category. It has been used a lot recently to aid people in the art of identity theft. While being in the field and working for a company, security is going to be a huge thing. If you don’t know about the threat of a key logger you could easily fall for this and cost your company millions. In my research on this topic I learned that they have programs made to scan especially for key loggers. The problem with this is that, well, people are cheap. So, people that are aware of this problem unwittingly download a “free” version or trial of the software and it has a key logger of its own on it.
I also learned that parents use these sometimes to monitor their kid’s whereabouts on the internet. This can be seen as a positive use for key loggers, but unfortunately most uses for them include fraud, identity theft, and loss of personal information. Another interesting fact I came across was that in the future, key loggers may be banned and illegal. They are already discussing this and some possible consequences of this would be being charged with a federal crime, a huge fine, and jail time. Overall I think that while key loggers are meant to be used for harmless things like monitoring your kids, that they really do pose a threat to our society and make protecting your information even harder than it was before.
Works Cited * Kayne, R., and O. Wallace. WiseGeek. Conjecture, 28 May 2012. Web. 29 Aug. 2012. <http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-keylogger.htm>.

* "Keylogger." About.com Wireless / Networking. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2012. <http://compnetworking.about.com/od/networksecurityprivacy/g/keylogger.htm>.

* "Keylogger (keystroke Logger, Key Logger, or System Monitor)." What Is ? N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2012. <http://searchmidmarketsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/keylogger>.

* "What Is a KEYLOGGER?" What Is a Keylogger. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2012. <http://whatisakeylogger.com/>.

* "What Is a Keylogger Trojan?" About.com Antivirus Software. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2012. <http://antivirus.about.com/od/whatisavirus/a/keylogger.htm>

above are some examples of key loggers

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