Computer Viruses That Affect the Keyboard

By Karen Carter

Computer viruses that affect the keyboard are considered malicious viruses. This type of virus is rare since no perceptible advantage results to the creator of the virus in interfering with keyboard functions. Most viruses like Trojans are designed to make a monetary profit for the creator by stealing data. These viruses are designed to go unnoticed until the goal of the virus is accomplished. In contrast, a virus affecting a keyboard gives the user a clear sign that something is wrong, allowing her to take steps to solve the problem.


Viruses delete files, mark memory clusters as bad and sometimes interfere with the function of computer hardware. The hardware is not actually infected by the virus, but the driver software is often corrupted. This causes the keyboard not to type or to type different letters than what is pressed.


One malfunction caused by viruses attacking keyboards is the remapping of the keyboard. This is a program rewrite that may change the language of the keyboard to some other language. For example, an English keyboard may be reprogrammed to Korean. Remapping most commonly reconfigures the position of the keys. The A key may insert a / icon when it's typed, or Z might insert a Q.


Hackers are commonly let in by a virus opening a "back door" in the security of the computer. The virus sends the necessary information back to the hacker, who attempts to take remote control of the computer. One symptom of remote hacking is the loss of control over the keyboard. The mouse will also seem to move on its own. A remote hacker can be foiled at times by the user restarting the computer.


Detecting a virus may be as simple as updating and scanning the computer every week. Otherwise, keep an eye on the way the computer performs. Suddenly slow running computers or malfunctioning keyboards could be a sign of a virus trying to steal personal information from the computer. This information may include logins, bank account numbers and credit card numbers.


Protection against viruses that affect the keyboard starts with the installation and running of a trusted antivirus program. Find one with antispyware capabilities. Another step is to disable the remote control function in the Control Panel of the computer. Most new computers have this function enabled just in case technical support needs to gain access to your computer. Finally, enable a strong firewall that asks permission from the user before any changes occur to your hard drive. This function of the firewall temporarily interrupts what you are doing, but it is an effective form of protection against unauthorized programs.