How to Tell If You Have a Keylogger Installed

By Palmer Owyoung

Keyloggers can come as hardware or software and are used for spying on people. They work by recording every keystroke made on the keyboard, which can result in the theft of sensitive data such as usernames, passwords and banking details. Some keyloggers also take screenshots of websites that you've been to, conversations that you've had in a chat room and applications that you've used. So if you suspect that someone is spying on you, there are a few ways to tell if you have a keylogger installed.

Things You'll Need

  • Anti-spyware software or anti-keylogger software

Step 1

Check the connection between your keyboard and your computer. Hardware keyloggers will generally be attached to the end of the cord on your computer. It will usually be a small cylindrically shaped device that is grayish in color. If you find such an attachment you can simply remove it and it will no longer be able to record.

Step 2

Scan your computer with an anti-spyware software. You can use a software such as Spybot Search and Destroy (see link under References below). Although not 100 percent effective against keyloggers, it will get rid of most forms of spyware and malware. Simply go to spybot.com and download and install the software. As of 2009 it is free. Once it is installed you will need to do a scan, which will take approximately 30 minutes. Once finished, it will return a list of possible threats and ask you if you want to quarantine them. Click "Yes" if you want to remove them.

Step 3

Use antivirus software to find your keylogger. Go to avast.com and download the combination antivirus/anti-spyware software. If you are using it for personal use, then you can download the home version for free. Once you've downloaded it, install it and do a “Complete System Scan.” If you have a keylogger, it should show up in either the antivirus or anti-spyware scans. Again, this isn't 100 percent effective against keyloggers.

Step 4

Use the Anti-Keylogger program (see References). This is designed specifically to detect and remove keyloggers and is the most effective tool, it should be able to remove all but the latest of keyloggers. After downloading and installing the program it will automatically start when you boot up your computer and will look for any keyloggers that are on your machine. If any are detected, it will ask you if you want to remove them. There is a free trial available, but as of December 2009 the full version costs $59.95 for a one-user license.