A Great Anti-Keylogger for Free


It's hard to imagine just how much we've come to depend on computer technology in the last few years, and how the power of that technology has continued to improve.  In the mid 1980s I was a writer on a UK-based magazine called Personal Computer World.  I worked with a fellow journalist called Guy Kewney, who is now best remembered for a hilarious case of mistaken identity that you can see here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5evS-ApSNQ (warning: the language in the comments which follow that clip is not for the easily offended).

Sadly, Guy Kewney (the real one) died recently, and yesterday I attended a memorial service in his honour.  Which is why, on the train to the service, I found myself reading a copy of Personal Computer World from April 1986 which I'd dug out from my archive.  Among the bargains on offer to readers at the time included a 20 megabyte (yes, megabyte) hard disk for $1200, a database system so advanced that it could index 1000 records in just 40 seconds, and a company offering to transmit international email at just 40 cents for 2048 characters. 

How times have changed.  And how much more risky our technology-heavy lives have consequently become.  We store data in the cloud, we type credit card numbers into web sites, and we communicate via email.  Hence the need for a proper security regime on our home and office computers to ensure that our personal data remains, well, personal.

One potentially useful addition to any security-conscious PC user's armoury is spyshelter (www.spyshelter.com/download.html).  It's an anti-keylogger, and also warns if a remote system is attempting to perform a screen caputure or view your clipboard.  It runs under all recent version of Windows, and the 32-bit version is completely free.  There's also a premium version which offers additional features, including 64-bit support, as you can see from the chart below.





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by ghiathmatar on 8. September 2013 - 1:55  (110587)


I came here to look for free anti-keylogger software and the only program that is recommended is Spyshelter, which is free only for 32bit systems and judging from the comments, it has given many people problems like freezing or BSOD. So my question is: right now -nearing the end of 2013, with very few new computers running 32bit- this is still the only program to recommend? I mean do I have to resign myself to forking out 25 Euros to get this layer of protection for my windows7 64 bit laptop?

by rob.schifreen on 8. September 2013 - 10:25  (110592)

I think you can get away without running a specific anti-keylogger on your computer, unless you are particularly concerned about this threat more than any other. Any respectable anti-virus program should also detect other malware such as keyloggers.

Security programs which work by intercepting all your actions, in order to check that they're legitimate, can cause problems when they interact with other software. They can also cause performance issues. You're best not to run more than you need to (and in practice, this generally means 1). So pick a decent security product, enable the features you need, and you should be fine.

by ghiathmatar on 9. September 2013 - 6:00  (110608)

Oh, and in addition to my previous reply/request for confirmation below I forgot to mention that I also have MS firewall running and am wondering if I should install Sandboxie?

by Anupam on 9. September 2013 - 8:25  (110613)

It would be better if you post your query in the forum, here:


because this discussion can have many comments, and it will be better to follow this as one thread in the forum :). The forum is a better place for such discussions.

by ghiathmatar on 9. September 2013 - 10:39  (110621)

Ok, thanks, will do.

by ghiathmatar on 8. September 2013 - 12:51  (110597)

Thanks for the reply, Rob.

Based on what I read on this site I chose and installed Avast on this new laptop I got last December, which I am pleased to say seems a better choice over avg, though I must note that my previous, not entirely satisfactory avg experience was on a vista machine. Other than Avast I scan with updated Malwarebytes everyday or every other day. That is about the extent of my security programs but of course I am pretty careful with my actions online and with emails, etc.

The problem is that sometimes I slip up and do stupid things that I later kind of regret, and end up running around trying to guard against consequences. For example I recently absent-mindedly allowed a person I don't know well (and see only rarely) to recharge his android smartphone through my laptop's usb port. Later, I thought about it and began to imagine all sorts of horror scenarios (from data mining to the planting of spyware on my machine). Since I was not sure of the consequences of that mistake, I got busy doing scans ( Malwarebytes, TM Housecall; no threats found) and changing important passwords, but of course if there was somehow something on my machine recording my keystrokes or capturing my screen activity and sending this info back to whoever, it would make all my password changes pretty useless, hence my urge to find anti keylogger and anti screen capture programs.

I say this because one of the banks I have to deal with unfortunately continues to rely on just one layer of security in the form of just one password -through a https website of course- which I feel is not robust enough, making me constantly worried about my password getting nicked. I agree with you that too many security programs working simultaneously and intercepting things could cause conflict and problems, as well as slow down the system. However I am prepared to to sacrifice a bit of speed and put up with some hopefully minor hiccups for the sake of peace of mind but only if it is necessary; no point in doing it if having the extra program doesn't really make any difference security-wise!

So to wrap up, if you reckon that Avast as a resident av and scans by malwarebytes for spyware are enough then I'm quite happy to go with that. Cheers.

by rob.schifreen on 15. September 2013 - 13:46  (110727)

One of the easiest and best ways to protect yourself from accidents is to ensure that you never log into your computer as an administrator unless you need to. And if you're allowing other people to use your PC, it's doubly important that they don't get admin access.

Not being an administrator means that, if you make a mistake and inadvertently give some malware the go-ahead to install itself, Windows won't allow the operation to proceed because the account under which the malware installer is running (ie, yours) doesn't have permission to install new software or tinker with the OS configuration.

by ghiathmatar on 17. September 2013 - 13:55  (110790)

Thanks, Rob. Yes, I have already started another user account and am slowly migrating there just to get into the habit of using it all the time. Though this protects against installation of malware in the future (and I have already done several scans and found no threats) I am still not sure as to the issue of files having been copied directly off my machine. Of course never again will I make the mistake of allowing anyone to plug anything into my machine, period, but it still does not help me stop wondering what, if anything, was mined from my machine while the other person's mobile phone was connected to my laptop, and the replies I got to my forum thread about the incident were not assuring :(

But to get back to the topic of anti-keylogger programs, I think I will hold off for a while and just keep watching my computer-use habits and behavior. Cheers.

by rob.schifreen on 17. September 2013 - 19:32  (110820)

Windows maintains a "last accessed" date for each file, as well as a "last modified" one. So you may be able to find out about files having been "mined" by checking those dates. You'll need to find a specific program that does it for you, or add the column to your Windows Explorer view somehow.

I personally wouldn't bother with an anti-keylogger program. As I said, most decent security products that detect viruses and malware will also detect keyloggers.

by Timeout (not verified) on 1. June 2012 - 22:48  (94292)

Is Spyshelter antilogger free considered necessary on my system with a (paid) well known antivirus that has , WinPatrol, and Firefox with add-ons such as Keyscrambler, NoScript,DoNotTrack and Ad Block Plus?

by MidnightCowboy on 2. June 2012 - 4:54  (94302)

In a word no, but a few more of caution. You can load your PC to the gills with security software but it still won't protect you 100% no matter what the vendors who want to sell you this stuff say on the website. :) You can however reduce your risk exposure dramatically by not going to the places where the majority of malware are located. Using a secure DNS service like Norton and installing the WOT (Web Of Trust) extension in your browser (or switching from Google search to DuckDuckGo with WOT enabled) are IMO more important than AV choice.

I don't have the current figures for malware numbers but it was over a million in 2010 and is no doubt substantially higher than that now.

The antivirus vendors can only confirm “real hits” on some of these because either there are too many variants of the same thing or they have yet to create a signature for something as yet unknown. In order to mitigate the risk from this huge back hole of malware, they employ a range of other techniques to look at how a particular piece of code might behave, what else it my try to affect and where it might be trying to launch this action from. Based on how each particular AV program is coded, they then “guess” if something might be malicious and throw up a warning. How can users answer this if the AV vendors don't know themselves? Sure it can always be submitted but in today's world who wants to wait for an answer? Worse still, programs like Norton additionally flag anything they haven't seen before or a site their bots haven't crawled before as potentially dangerous. This is where vendors get their “360” methodology from. If they have never confirmed something as definitely safe, then it isn't, so if you choose to install it you can't say they didn't warn you. In other words totally protected! Now, if folks weren't shelling out money for this it would be completely laughable. It's like car insurance companies not paying out because drivers know that roads are dangerous. :D


by Timeout (not verified) on 2. June 2012 - 5:33  (94303)

Thanks for the reply MC. One more question: Do the services such as Norton DNS actually prevent a user from accessing a potentially dangerous website or does it simply give you warning beforehand? And would it be easily configured for someone new to this type app?

by MidnightCowboy on 2. June 2012 - 7:45  (94309)

Yes, Norton will block access to the site with a message like this:

Malicious Web Site Blocked

You attempted to access: download.nullsoft.com

This is a known malicious web site. It is recommended that you do NOT visit this site. The detailed report explains the security risks on this site.

For your protection, this web site has been blocked. Visit Symantec to learn more about phishing and internet security.


Norton is straightforward enough to set up. If you follow the "Get Started" link on their site, it will run you through the process.

by Timeout (not verified) on 2. June 2012 - 22:44  (94325)

Final question before I set up: Since both are free, any preference between Norton DNS and Open Dns? Thanks

by MidnightCowboy on 3. June 2012 - 5:25  (94328)

Norton 100%. OpenDNS is confusing because all the folks I've encountered using it think they also have malware protection. This is actually not true unless you use their paid service. All you get for free with OpenDNS is protection against phishing sites.

Comodo also provide a free secure DNS service.


Their original service was behind Norton for detection of malware sites although I admit to not seeing a comparison between the two since their current service came out of beta. In practice, and considering the amount of investment Comodo has put into this service, I guess there will be little to choose now between them and Norton. This being the case, you could make a choice based on which service gives you the best response times. This tool will enable such an assessment.


by Bigfoot (not verified) on 5. February 2011 - 19:18  (65889)

Not sure this is the correct forum for this question but it seemed to be the most appropriate...Does the free version of Prevx Safeonline provide antikeylogger protection? Also I already have KeyScrambler (and a paid version of an antilogger) installed-would both be overkill? Thank You

by Hank Friedman (not verified) on 15. January 2011 - 5:36  (64583)

I couldn't install the free version because it doesn't work with x64 Windows 7, so I installed the trial version of the commercial version.

It was not only way too intrusive, but it slowed my lightning fast PC to a crawl.

I could uninstall it fast enough.

by Hank Friedman (not verified) on 15. January 2011 - 5:38  (64584)

I meant, I couldn't uninstall it fast enough.

Definitely not work installing.

by Anonymouslytekan (not verified) on 30. November 2010 - 12:28  (61820)

Cool app

by mikecorbeil on 10. September 2010 - 21:58  (57609)

Good, interesting and fun review article, r.schifreen.

by wdhpr on 1. August 2010 - 15:05  (55302)


I was interested in trying this product however Avira stopped the download saying the it was not safe to proceed. Possibly a false alarm, anyone experience this issue?


by MidnightCowboy on 1. August 2010 - 15:08  (55303)

It's an FP triggered no doubt by the nature of the file itself.

by Tikitak (not verified) on 20. July 2010 - 12:42  (54580)

Best anti keylogger and free, tested it's effeciency it's amazing! Block custom keyloggers and commercial actually all I tested (over 20)

by Richard Dixon (not verified) on 5. July 2010 - 16:23  (53788)

Does this protect webcams, like with Yahoo Messenger too? Does it conflict with WinPatrol?

by malagavtx (not verified) on 14. July 2010 - 12:01  (54262)

Yes protect, donno about conflict coz never used mentioned prog

by Dick g on 1. July 2010 - 20:07  (53596)

On first run, uninstalled Microsoft Security Essentials and my firewall.

I would not let me reinstall either. Bummer

by Anonymouss (not verified) on 2. July 2010 - 15:30  (53633)

well..non sense what you wrote it's behaviour blocker do not touch files or moreover deleting them

by Jake Maverick (not verified) on 1. July 2010 - 14:35  (53574)

Please be very wary of this programme....my Internet connection has been constantly open since I installed it, and the processor been working like mad even at idle....It's obviously some sort of spyware, masquerading as anti spyware! It even shares it's logo with NATO, or extremely similar at least! Subliminal there? Of course, if you see nothing wrong with the state spying on you pls carry on......;-)

by Anonymouss (not verified) on 2. July 2010 - 15:32  (53634)

buahah, please think twice what are you going to write, it's not very intelligent hating.

by MidnightCowboy on 1. July 2010 - 14:53  (53576)

Although we always welcome information of this type, it's of little use to anyone without at least the details from your network monitor and the ports being used to connect out. Without this then these connections cannot be analyzed, verified or even attributed directly to SpyShelter. I have a direct contact with the vendor and would be more than happy to take this up with them, but much more detail is required first.

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