Defeating DIY Hardware Keyloggers

There are many threats to user passwords these days one of the biggest and easiest to implement are hardware keystroke loggers. A simple device the goes between the keyboard cable and the computer used to capture all keystrokes on the computer. They have been around for sometime but they seem to be getting more popular with age and several recent stories of how to make them seem to be popping up everywhere one even gracing the homepages of Hackaday, Makeblog, and Digg a few days ago.

There are many threats to user passwords these days one of the biggest and easiest to implement are hardware keystroke loggers. A simple device the goes between the keyboard cable and the computer used to capture all keystrokes on the computer. They have been around for sometime but they seem to be getting more popular with age and several recent stories of how to make them seem to be popping up everywhere one even gracing the homepages of Hackaday, Makeblog, and Digg a few days ago.

All hope of keeping your password safe from hardware keyloggers should not be lost if you use the simple strategy of entering passwords with an on screen keyboard. Windows XP has one preinstalled simply press the Windows+U Keys to bring up the Utility Manager which has the option of activating the windows on screen keyboard or if already logged in Click Start-->Run and type osk.exe to bring up the on screen keyboard. It takes a little longer and some getting use to but if your computer is in a unsecured place like an open office at work or a dorm room and someone wishes to do you harm by stealing your passwords its worth a little inconvenience. Some online banks that are security conscience like INGDIRECT are forcing their customers to use its own version of an screen keyboard to protect accounts from this new and security threat.

Major OS on-screen keyboard alternatives

Windows:
Windows XP Onscreen Keyboard -Works well and is preinstalled with Windows XP
Click-n-Type-Freeware the is Windows 95 Compatible
Onscreen Keyboard -Minimalist but works with Windows NT

Linux:
GNOME On-screen Keyboard -open source alternative that works on Unix/Linux systems.

MAC:
Keyboard Viewer - Mac OSX has an on-screen keyboard built in (has since Mac OS 0.9 or whatever it shipped with in 1984). The current incarnation is called 'Keyboard Viewer' and has to be turned on in the 'International'preferences. How to use it is described in many places, e.g.: - User Contribution

SwitchXS -Sorry mac users I could not find a free one

Important note: Most on screen keyboards are useless against Software keystroke logging programs because most of them use the keyboard API and its (dll) is easily hooked to grab the keystrokes from it! The best advice I can give you to protect against those is keep your antivirus up to date and scan often, when using a public terminals I would recommend using a bootable usb drive with OS that has an on screen keyboard built into it.

Related Links:

DIY Hardware keylogger
- A little bulky but workable
http://www.keelog.com/diy.html

DIY Wireless keylogger
-Built into the keyboard would be the hardest to detect
http://gbppr.trighost.org/mil/keystroke/index.html

Manufactured hardware keysloggers
-Looks similar to a usb to ps2 converter small unnoticeable
http://www.keelog.com/prod.html
http://www.keykatcher.com/