What is a Keylogger? How to Detect and Remove It?

Gannicus Oliver  - Tech Journalist
Last updated: November 17, 2023
Read time: 24 minutes

This extensive guide explains what a keylogger is all about, the dangers it poses, how to prevent it, and so much more.


Keyloggers are one of the intrusive spyware apps that most cybercriminals use for monitoring users’ activities. These lightweight spyware remain undetected for years, secretly sense and record all the keystrokes in infected devices alongside emails, pictures, account details, and much more in mobile phones. Keyloggers often get into your system software via malicious websites. However, they can be installed in hardware, like mouse and joystick. Nonetheless, not all keyloggers are viruses and thus have positive usage as well. This guide elaborates on what a keylogger is and some tips to spot and remove it from devices.

Internet usage has increased significantly in the last decade, exposing users to various malicious applications ready to invade user’s privacy. Consequently, personal data leaks (such as photos) and other hacking attacks have increased. An effective way for hackers to access users’ devices and infiltrate them is through a keylogger virus.

Precisely, keyloggers are lightweight, difficult-to-detect spyware applications that take note of every key you type on your PC or mobile device. These tools then relay the logged data to the hacker’s server.

These malicious applications can run on your system for many years undetected without giving a hint of who deployed them on your device and how.

Here is a real-world case to help you recognize the malicious extent of keyloggers.

Joe Lopez filed a suit against Bank of America in 2005 after a hacker infiltrated the bank database and stole $90,000. Investigations revealed that the hacker transferred the money to another account in Latvia.

Wondering how did it happen? Joe Lopez’s PC fell victim to a malicious application named Backdoor Coreflood, a keylogging tool. It recorded every keystroke Lopez made. Hence, the criminal accessed everything he typed on his PC and used it to steal money from his account.

This incident occurred in 2005, more than 15 years ago. So imagine how sophisticated malicious programs might have become since then.