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Hardware Keylogger

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  • Last Updated : 22 Feb, 2021

Prerequisite: Keyloggers

Introduction to KeyLogger

It is software designed to record the keystrokes done by the user. This is one of the most basic software which may seem harmless, but in the hands of the hacker, it is one of the dangerous software. It is one of the oldest cyber threats. They use this to steal information from the victim and the information that they collect may be confidential or personal information, or it can be banking-related information.  Now, this software is also used in many companies to monitor employees of the company, providing a better experience to the user and more. The keylogger can be hardware, or it can be software.  

What is the reason to consider keylogger as a threat?

This software is very much dangerous for the user. With the help of the Keylogger, a hacker can get to know the information that the user is typing through their keyboard. It benefits the hacker to get to know the information like account number, passwords, and confidential information for the user.  

Example of keylogger

In popular games like Grand Theft Auto 5, a keylogger was found to be embedded in the game pod.

Introduction to Hardware Keylogger

It is a device that is used for recording the keystrokes. It starts its applications when it is been plugged in. Now the information gets stored in the device. So to retrieve the data hackers/attackers have to physically access that.  Now there might be an option to retrieve the data from the hardware keylogger remotely. 

The operation of the hardware keylogger differs from the software keylogger. There might be a chance of the software keylogger get detected, but the hardware keylogger is undetectable. The hardware keylogger is undetectable as it can appear as an external device that is attached to the computer. It is not detectable by the anti-virus, and it is hard to be detectable. It allows the attacker to get to know the confidential details and more details from the victim.

Case study

  • There was a case of collecting data about other employees in the year 2015.  It was a German left-wing newspaper, where one found a USB stick hardware keylogger.
  • Now schools have become commonplace for using the hardware keylogger. Their students use this Hardware Keylogger to increase their grades.
  • They are also used by the attacker to steal confidential data which they can use to steal money from banks.

Hardware Keylogger key concepts 

  • It is a physical device that is used for capturing keystrokes.
  • For Hardware Keylogger one must have physical access.
  • It can detect and can store the actual keystrokes entered by the user/victim.

 Advantages of Hardware keylogger 

  • It is undetectable.
  • It is not detectable by the anti-virus.
  • They are installed in the back of the computer which people often miss out on.

The disadvantage of Hardware keylogger

  • It can acts as a disadvantage if it is found by someone.
  • They are physically detectable

Detect Hardware keylogger

  • Detection of the Hardware Keylogger is tough. It is because nobody pays attention if the hardware keylogger has been plugged into the computer at its backside.

Prevent Hardware Keylogger

  • One should have a computer case. The computer case will prevent the access of the hardware keylogger.
  • One should disable the extra USB ports which are not required. Only those ports will be active which is required for use.
  • User/Victim should implement the two-factor authorization step. It will prevent the attacker/hacker to get access to your account.

Difference between hardware keylogger and software keylogger

Hardware Keylogger:– This is a device that is used to record keystrokes. It is attached to the computer, and it starts its applications when it is plugged in. Now the information gets stored in the device. So to retrieve the data hackers/attacker have to physically access that.  In short, we can say that the Hardware Keylogger is much tough to detect than the software keylogger.

Software Keylogger:- This is something that is installed on the hard drive. This type of software is also called spy software. Now the software keylogger can also be used by parents to monitor their kids, and it is also used for other activities. This software keylogger may be better, but it is sometimes detectable and can also be removed by the anti-virus.  

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