Criminals looking to rip you off never stop coming up with clever new ways to do it. Sometimes, their schemes run behind the scenes on your device and you may never know what’s going on.

There are legitimate uses for keyloggers, such as parents who want to monitor their children’s internet activity or (like it or not) by employers making sure workers are productive. The programs are also used for shadier reasons, like keeping tabs on a significant other or looking to rip people off by cybercriminals.

Because once the program is installed on your device, a crook can record everything that you type. That could include account credentials and other sensitive information.

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How to spot a keylogger and remove it

Keyloggers can be challenging to find but not impossible. Most trustworthy antivirus programs automatically check for keyloggers, which is why it’s crucial to have one protecting all of your devices. Also, make sure your operating system is updated regularly, so you get security patches that help block these types of threats.

However, since some keyloggers are constantly being updated with new ways to outsmart detection, you may want to do some digging on your own. To do this, you’ll need to check your list of installed programs.

So, what are you looking for? Pretty much anything unfamiliar or suspicious. If you don’t recognize the name of a program, do a Google search to find out what it is.

Obviously, anything with the word keylogger in the title is a dead giveaway. Some other known keylogging programs to watch for include DanuSoft, Refog, and Spytech.

Here’s how to find installed programs for both Mac and PC:

Checking for installed programs on a Mac

Go to your desktop and click Finder in the upper left and open a new finder window. Select your Applications folder and review installed programs.

You can group your applications by clicking the View option in the menu and then Use Groups. This will help you weed through all of the apps on your computer.

Checking for installed programs on a PC

Go to your Control Panel as if you are going to uninstall a program. A simple way to do this is to type “control panel” in the search box found in the lower-left corner of your PC. Click on the Control Panel app when it appears.

Next, select Programs and then Uninstall a Program. You will see a list of all programs that are installed on your computer.

Uninstall suspicious programs that may be a keylogger. If you don’t feel comfortable going through this process on your own, a free download can help.

Ghostpress is an anti-keylogging software that prevents malicious software from capturing your keyboard presses. It works for Windows computers and you can get the free download.

Since keyloggers can be installed on your device through phishing attacks, you can avoid the problem before it even begins. Just follow some simple safety precautions, so you don’t become the next phishing victim.

First, always be cautious with links found in unsolicited emails and text messages. Scammers are so good at spoofing messages and websites these days you never know if it’s real or fake.

As always, the best way to get to an official website is to type the address directly into your browser. Never click a link to get there. Also, don’t open attachments found in messages, either. They could be malicious and infect your device with keylogging malware.

Next, protect your devices from snoops and spies. Never connect to public Wi-Fi without the protection of a virtual private network (VPN). Cybercriminals are always looking for unprotected devices on public networks in hopes of infecting them with malware.

And, of course, you need to keep your computer updated. Operating system updates play a part in ensuring your computer is protected from the latest dangerous tricks cybercriminals play.

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