How to Detect an Invisible Keylogger

A keylogger saves everything you type and stores it in a file.
... Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

A keylogger is a program that tracks and records all of the keystrokes that you make on your computer. When an invisible keylogger is installed on your computer, it can place all of your personal information at risk: passwords, credit card numbers, email communication, and bank login details. If you suspect the presence of a keylogger, take action immediately to find and eliminate it from your system.

1 Anti-Virus Software

Most invisible keyloggers come in the form of malware, which is usually downloaded accidentally. The easiest way to detect an invisible keylogger is to use an anti-virus program or a malware detector. Although it is not an infallible method, you can use a program like Malwarebytes, Spybot Search & Destroy or Microsoft's proprietary Malicious Software Removal Tool to search for installed keyloggers.

2 Hardware Detection

Hardware-based keyloggers are easier to detect and remove. On a computer running Windows, press "Ctrl-Alt-Del" and look for unfamiliar processes running in the background. If you spot one, open the Control Panel and delete the program in the Add or Remove Program section. On a Mac, open the Activity Monitor, which is located in the Utilities folder, and look for unusual processes. Select the process name and hit the Quit Process button to shut down the program.

3 Alternative Boot Methods

According to Kaspersky Lab, which makes antivirus software, some invisible keyloggers are impossible to detect, particularly when they are custom-built. Most general Internet users do not need to worry about this type of attack, as it is usually aimed at a specific target, for a specific purpose. If you are experiencing unusual account activity or if you have reason to suspect that a keylogger is installed on your system, Kaspersky Lab suggests that you use a virtual keyboard or boot your computer from a CD or external drive.

Elizabeth Smith has been a scientific and engineering writer since 2004. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers and corporate publications. A frequent traveler, she also has penned articles as a travel writer. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and writing from Michigan State University.