Thursday, December 6, 2007

Keyloggers: Hardware or Software?

I've been looking into acquiring a keylogger of some sort. It will help when I'm employed to key tabs on a suspect. I've done a lot of reading on the subject and I have some questions. I realize that there are hardware keyloggers (keyboard connectors,) software, and keyloggers manufactured into the keyboard. A logger manufactured into a keyboard is not in the equation for a couple of reasons. It would be obvious to a user if they are using a different keyboard than they are accustomed to using. Also, I understand they are expensive. That leaves me with two choices: a hardware solution, and a software solution.

I wouldn't mind a hardware solution. Most of the time, where the keyboard is plugged in is out of the way, and mostly hidden. However, I've seen that there space considerations going this route. I'm not sure if I'll be able to check the computer on a regular basis, say nightly.

A software solution would be ideal, something that could be covertly installed. However, I need something that won't show up in task manager, won't trip anti-virus or anti-spyware software, and obviously won't show up in the systray. Is there a good software package for this? Does one exist? The last thing I need is to tip off the suspect.

So, my question is: What do you use, and what do you like? Are there any "certified" for incident response? Does the government or law enforcement have anything (commercially available) that comes recommended?


  1. A hardware keylogger would be a good choice but as you have already mentioned they are quite expensive. Though I guess there should be such with something like a wireless transmitter on-board which will transmit log-files and you in this case need to have a receiver. But I'm not sure about that...

    As to software keylogger it can be a better choice because it provides much more functional options amongst which you can find transfer log-files via email or LAN. Once I've come across a comparative testing of these programs. As far as I remember it was here: As for me I've been using PC ACME program for some time. Rather nice (completely stealth which is a necessary option), but lacks options.

  2. If you are looking for a good robust and stealthy hardware version of a keylogger try the KeyGhost at, one of the drawbacks is that you will need physical access to the target computer to install and retrieve keystrokes. Note I would always choose hardware over software because as far as I have found, software keyloggers are not that stealthy or reliable.

  3. Thanks for the ideas. I've just been asked by management to keep tabs on an employee that is suspected of passing on information that he shouldn't. While we are taking the typical precautions, I think we will go down the road of using a keylogger. Right now, I'm leaning on a hardware keylogger.
    I'll update the blog with my progress.

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