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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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?

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.

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?

It would be better if you post your query in the forum, here: http://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/security/ 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.

Ok, thanks, will do.

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.

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.

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.

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.