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

Why Planes Aren’t Flying Any Faster—and Won’t Any Time Soon

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. On Wednesday, May 11, Future Ten…

Published: April 30, 2016 - 11:33 pm @ http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_te…

Vehicle fire disrupts traffic near US 60 in Mesa

MESA, AZ - A vehicle fire disrupted traffic near US 60 Saturday night. The Arizona Department of Transportation said a vehicle was on fire in …

Published: April 30, 2016 - 11:29 pm @ http://www.abc15.com/news/region-southeast-valley/…

Hiker in southern Arizona attacked by skunk; animal will be test for rabies

Cochise County sheriff's officials say a skunk that attacked a hiker is being tested for rabies. Sheriff's spokeswoman Carol Capas says the in…

Published: April 30, 2016 - 11:00 pm @ http://www.abc15.com/news/region-central-southern-…

Game of Thrones: The Five Best Sex Scenes From Seasons One, Two, and Three (NSFW)

Eric Tsetsi A A Note: This post contains spoilers. Game of Thrones is arguably best known for its brutally violent scenes.  The first season's…

Published: April 30, 2016 - 10:29 pm @ http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/arts/game-of-throne…

Silent Witness looking for man who stole gun from McDonald's customer

PHOENIX - Authorities are looking for a man recorded on surveillance video stealing a handgun from a man while he waited in line at a fast foo…

Published: April 30, 2016 - 9:59 pm @ http://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/sou…

We Pay Millions to "Ghost Teachers" Who Don't Teach

The Philadelphia school district is in a near-constant state of financial crisis. There are many factors contributing to this sorry state — pa…

Published: April 30, 2016 - 9:59 pm @ https://fee.org/articles/we-pay-millions-to-ghost-…

Project Connect aims to end hunger and homelessness

April 21 was a new beginning for Shawn Wilson. The recent Arizona transplant from Michigan decided to attend United Way’s Project Connect at V…

Published: April 30, 2016 - 9:29 pm @ http://www.glendalestar.com/features/article_678a2…

Trump supporters furious over 'collusion' at Arizona GOP convention

Upset that Donald Trump received just a handful of statewide delegates during an electronic vote, his Arizona campaign manager is threatening …

Published: April 30, 2016 - 8:29 pm @ http://tucson.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/tru…

40 Waterwise Plants and Natives by Flower Color

01 May 2016 Low water landscaping doesn’t have to be desert-like.  Best native plants by color for the colorful native garden. Low water, low-…

Published: April 30, 2016 - 8:04 pm @ http://www.prescottenews.com/index.php/features/co…

Trump Backers Yell Foul Over Loss at Arizona GOP Convention

PHOENIX (AP) — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz pulled out a strategic victory at Saturday’s Arizona Republican Party convention, nailing down a large majo…

Published: April 30, 2016 - 7:59 pm @ http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/04/30/trump-b…

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…