How to Tell If Someone Has Put Keylogger on Your Computer

Spying has been around for as long as humans have had secrets to keep. Whether it's love, war or something more mundane, people always wish they knew what others were keeping from them--and often go to great lengths to find out. In the computer age, spying can be almost undetectable, since spies can install software or hardware that will silently record everything you type. They can set up their keyloggers to upload your keystrokes to the web, or they can come back to your computer later and retrieve them in person. Either way, you want to do everything you can to keep them from getting what they want.

Woman with a laptop computer
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Step

Check the keyboard and its connection to your computer. Physical keyloggers come in two main forms: keyboards with built-in recording capabilities and adapters that plug into the keyboard on one side and your computer on the other. It may be difficult to tell if your keyboard has keylogging built in. Try looking up the brand name and model number online or look for suspicious connectors on the keyboard itself.

Step

Download and install a virus scanning program. Use it regularly and keep it up-to-date. Most keyloggers can be found by good virus scanners.

Step

Be wary of suspicious activity that corresponds with typing. If your computer's networking lights flash whenever you type, even though you aren't using the Internet, this may indicate a keylogger is uploading your keystrokes. Likewise, if your computer's hard drive light blinks whenever you type, this may indicate that a keylogger is saving your keystrokes to disk. However, there are many things that could cause either of these behaviors, and the best keyloggers will be careful to avoid them.

Step

On Windows, you can use utilities like Process Monitor (see Resources) to help uncover the source of suspicious behavior.

Step

Keep your computer under your control at all times. Make sure you don't let others use it while you aren't watching, keep an up-to-date firewall running and use strong passwords. Good security is the best way to avoid being spied on.