Sniff out ‘keyloggers’ before it’s tax time - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Money

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Sniff out ‘keyloggers’ before it’s tax time

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Ken Colburn is president of Data Doctors Computer Services and host of the Data Doctors Radio Program, noon Saturdays on KTAR 92.3 FM or at www.datadoctors.com/radio. Readers may send questions to evtrib@datadoctors.com.

Related Stories

Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2013 12:49 pm

Question: Is there an easy way to see if I have a hidden keylogger on my Windows 7 computer before I start doing my taxes? — Don

Answer: Tax season is what we refer to as “Christmas for Hackers” because they know that lots of us will be typing very sensitive information on our computers to prepare our returns.

There are a number of threats that can compromise your computer, but few are as disconcerting as a keylogger.

If a malicious keylogger can sneak its way into your computer, it sits silently in the background recording every keystroke you make and can send the daily “transcript” to a remote hacker.

Grabbing your valuable data, such as bank credentials, Social Security numbers and email passwords takes seconds with an automated script.

Keyloggers tend to be fairly sophisticated programs that can masquerade as typical operating system processes, so detecting them can be a little tricky.

A sign that you should have your computer looked at by a knowledgeable person starts with how long it takes your computer to start up. If it’s substantially longer than when it was new, you likely have extra processes running that could include malware.

A quick self-check can be run by opening the Windows Task Manager (right-click on the “Taskbar” at the bottom to start it) when you first turn your computer on and reviewing the number of processes running.

A well maintained computer will have between 40-50 processes running. If the number is 60-, 70- or 80-plus, for a variety of reasons, you should have your computer looked at soon.

Not only will it uncover any potentially hazardous malware, your computer will run significantly better without the extra load.

While you have the Task Manager open, click on the “Processes” tab and click on the “Image Name” column header to sort the processes alphabetically. Scroll down towards the bottom and look for the “winlogon.exe” process.

There should only be one, so if you see more than one instance of winlogon.exe you should stop using your computer immediately and have it examined.

Unfortunately, many of today’s keyloggers are written to hide from this quick check, so just because you don’t see more than one instance of winlogon.exe, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a keylogger installed.

Another indication that you should be concerned is if your CPU usage meter (click on the “Performance” tab) is showing a lot of activity even though you just started your computer and you haven’t opened any programs yet.

Your CPU should be idling in the 2-3 percent range with no programs (other than “Task Manager”) open.

While you are reviewing the performance charts, take a look at the physical memory usage to see if you need more memory (RAM). If the blue line in the “Usage History” is half way up or higher, adding more RAM should provide you with a noticeable improvement in speed.

• Ken Colburn is president of Data Doctors Computer Services and host of the Data Doctors Radio Program, noon Saturdays on KTAR 92.3 FM or at www.datadoctors.com/radio.

More about

More about

  • Discuss

PD: Man shot overnight at west Phoenix park

PHOENIX - Police are investigating after a man was shot at a west Phoenix park overnight. The incident happened shortly after 1 a.m. on Tuesda…

Published: July 26, 2016 - 5:01 am @ http://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/wes…

ROUND UP: Akuo green bond, Canberra wind-solar hybrid, Phoenix EPC contract in Texas

26 July: French renewables firm Akuo Energy has raised €44 million (US$48.5 million) through the issuance of green bonds in order to finance r…

Published: July 26, 2016 - 4:39 am @ http://www.pv-tech.org/news/roundup-akuo-green-bon…

AET adapts ECO line rooftop racking solution for east/west orientation

US-based Applied Energy Technologies (AET) has expanded and modified its ECO line of products to accommodate east/west orientation of PV modul…

Published: July 26, 2016 - 4:31 am @ http://www.pv-tech.org/products/aet-adapts-eco-lin…

Australia’s indigenous women artists set to make a splash in major U.S. exhibition

At 68, Aboriginal painter and matriarch Regina Pilawuk Wilson has a dream: to make the long journey from Australia’s outback to the U.S., wher…

Published: July 26, 2016 - 1:34 am @ http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2016/07…

Bears Ears Sacred Site Unites 24 Tribes With Rock Climbers, Conservationists

Anne MinardA coalition of 24 Native American tribes working to create a conservation area would be strong. Add the support of rock climbers, l…

Published: July 25, 2016 - 11:59 pm @ http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/07/…

Erdogan’s Purges Threaten Future of Turkey’s Secular Society

Print Turkish President Meets Opposition After Failed Coup Turkey Aims New Crackdown at Journalists, Academics, Airline Workers Turkish Ruling…

Published: July 25, 2016 - 11:37 pm @ http://www.voanews.com/content/erdogans-purges-thr…

Texas, facing a lawsuit, makes it easier for U.S.-born children of immigrants to get birth certificates

Last year, a group of Central American and Mexican immigrant parents sued Texas in federal court, claiming that the state had denied their chi…

Published: July 25, 2016 - 11:03 pm @ http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-texas-birth-ce…

Hiker rescues up in 2016; hundreds helped off Valley mountains so far

PHOENIX - It's a desperate situation that frankly firefighters are seeing way too often. "I think that this year we've just had some real trag…

Published: July 25, 2016 - 10:29 pm @ http://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/cen…

Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

Print Libya's UN-backed Government Condemns France Following Crash Three French Soldiers Killed During Operation in Libya Islamist-backed demo…

Published: July 25, 2016 - 9:36 pm @ http://www.voanews.com/content/libya-un-backed-uni…

Phoenix Serial Street Shooter likely using multiple vehicles

PHOENIX - Phoenix police said they are getting new details and tips about a serial shooter connected to seven murders . But investigators can’…

Published: July 25, 2016 - 8:58 pm @ http://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/wes…

Facebook

ahwatukee.com on Facebook

Twitter

ahwatukee.com on Twitter

RSS

Subscribe to ahwatukee.com via RSS

RSS Feeds

Spacer4px

Most Popular

Online poll

Loading…