A Keylogger, computer-monitoring spy software running invisibly and silently in the background recording every key stroke. Some Keyloggers can record 2-way text messages. They can even take periodic screen shots and capture video camera images, during a private messaging/chat session or otherwise. Engineered to avoid detection by the unsuspecting user. They can be installed without your knowledge, bundled with other software or disguised as a file that you cannot seem to open. A pop-up window you clicked on to close could have actually triggered an installer. They can be controlled remotely or toggled on and off with special key stroke combinations. Used legitimately, they can assist Parents in monitoring their children's online activities. Some Businesses use them to monitor Employee's internet use. However, more often used for nefarious reasons such as stealing Encrypted Data, Passwords and Bank Account information. In the following tutorial, I will explain how to remove a Keylogger.
1. Decide which program or combination of programs work best for you. Many inexpensive if not altogether free antispyware programs abound. Avast!, AdAware and Windows (beta) Antispyware to name but a few. More expensive versions, including McAfee AntiSpyware and Norton 360, include a host of other features not available in freeware/shareware. That doesn't necessarily mean better or trouble-free programing, in comparison. The important thing to note here, without an updated antispyware program your system is vulnerable! So, pick something with a good reputation and go with it. Don't know where to begin? Try cnet or ZDNet.com, among others, for current software and product reviews.
2. Running two antispyware programs simultaneously generally causes no problems other than tying up system resources. But, running two antivirus programs simultaneously will conflict and may cause system instability. Even if you only run one at a time, one may detect features of the other and go to war against it. Better to have only one such program installed at any given time.
3. Take avast! Home Edition for example. They offer a free version for Home users. The software requires registration before the end of the initial 60 day trial period. Registering the program will allow you to continue to use it for a full year. Upgrading unlocks additional features.
4. Immediately check for the latest updated database files, once you download and install your software of choice. Such software usually gives the opportunity to reboot and run a startup scan. Start up scans can detect malicious software attempting to activate and write to the Registry during the boot process. Keyloggers typically activate during this process, although they can trigger from preset events.
5. Turn off System Restore before rebooting your computer, if you suspect a Keylogger of recording your activities. You can do this by clicking on Start/Control Panel/System\System Restore. Click the box to add a checkmark next to 'Turn off system Restore an all drives.' Then, click Apply. True, this will delete all of your restore points. But, if your system is infected, it also deletes the immediate reinfection capability. Restart your computer to initiate the scan.
6. Select to Quarantine any infected files upon completion of the startup scan, if your chosen program has detected a Keylogger [virus or spyware]. Quarantine disables these infected files and gives you choices of what to do next. If they cannot be cleaned or repaired, deletion is the obvious next step. As soon as the scan completes and you have effectively dealt with any infections found, go back and restart System Restore. Create a Restore point. Keep in mind that these infected files may cause their associated program to cease proper function. Uninstall and reinstall as necessary.
* The paid version of avast! Home Addition and others have additional features not available in Free versions.
* Just in case you knowingly installed a particular Keylogger, for your own reasons, you can customize your antispyware program to ignore it without allowing other Keyloggers to operate. Just follow the prompts, after the software has been detected.
* If your free version software does not have an automatic update feature, be sure to manually check for updates on a regular basis.
* It is always a good idea to burn a copy of several highly recommended portable antivirus/antispyware programs on a CDRW & USB thumb drive. This allows you the option of updating the version, downloadable definitions and security updates. You can install and update from this CDRW or USB, offline, in case access to one or the other has been disabled by spyware.
* avast! is a combination antivirus/antispyware program. Uninstall any existing antivirus software before installing avast!
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