The Wrangler

Keystroke Logging and Cheap Hardware

Look at what you buy and be careful about what you click.

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a usb adapter version of a basic hardware keylogger

a usb adapter version of a basic hardware keylogger

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a usb adapter version of a basic hardware keylogger

By Kyler Telge, Staff Writer

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Recently there has been some tidbits of information floating around about keyloggers, and I wanted to try to clear up and provide information surrounding the useful, yet dangerous, tool that has found its way into news pieces yet again.
Keyloggers are pretty much what their name says, a logger of key presses, and while there is quite a bit of variety in the tech all of it boils down to the same idea (stealing info that isn’t yours).
Keyloggers aren’t exactly new tech but many people might think they are straight out of spy movies because it sounds absurd. In the day and age where everything is tracking your data and listening whether you want it to or not people should be used to these types of bad business practices.
Trustworthy companies seems to be of a declining number but we all still love finding great deals on tech nowadays right? If you want flashy and functional for dirt cheap the MantisTek GK2 rgb mechanical keyboard doesn’t seem like a bad choice… until you realize that they include a keylogger in some of the software designed for the keyboard. The so called “cloud driver” is the culprit storing not what keypresses are happening but how many presses of each key are occurring. Assuming no malicious intent, it’s possible that the keyboard maker wanted this sort of data in order to see the lifetime of its keyboard’s keys or see which keys it needs to make more durable. However, doing this sort of tracking without user permission still seems like a violation of user trust. It could also be a violation of privacy laws in the European Union, where such consent needs to be explicit.

However, doing this sort of tracking without user permission still seems like a violation of user trust. It could also be a violation of privacy laws in the European Union, where such consent needs to be explicit.”

— Lucian Armasu

Everyone probably thinks about trying to hide their report card or dream of changing their grades to be way better than they actually are. Well, a now ex-student at the University of Iowa recently went to court for charges of hacking and changing his grades and friends grades over 90 times. When the FBI investigated and searched his house they found keyloggers, thumb drives and other tech that the student had used to steal teachers info so that they could change grades.
There are two standard versions of a keylogger: one software based and the other hardware with each having their own respective categories therewithin. A software based keylogger could come in many forms like one that is kernel-based, meaning it is integrated into the operating system itself which is extremely hard to detect in many cases. There are also web based keyloggers that save things in web pages you browse in an attempt to get sensitive information. Hardware based keyloggers most often look like a little extension added onto your keyboard cable and can hold quite a bit of info depending on how much you would be willing to spend.
Prices tend to vary a lot when looking at different loggers and while it is currently legal in the US to purchase one I would highly advise against it. It is a major violation of a person’s privacy and you can be charged with hacking which in some jurisdictions is considered a misdemeanor up to a felony depending on the circumstances.
There is a lot of great technology out there developed for consumer use that everyone can enjoy while not breaking any laws, try to stick to stuff that keeps the cops away please.

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Keystroke Logging and Cheap Hardware