Gaining evidence of marital infidelity, protecting a child from dangerous company, or controlling insecure employees are just some of the situations that require secret evidence gathering. One of the most popular methods is computer spyware. How does a keylogger work? Check out the answers.


Under the enigmatic name of "keylogger" there is a spyware (more rarely a physical device) used to record the keys pressed on the keyboard.

This function gives a full insight into the users activity on a given computer. It is possible to check, for example, what is typed in the browser or what messages are sent in chat rooms.

Keyloggers are often used by employers to monitor their employees and by people who want to check the fidelity of their partners. The main distinguishing feature of these products is the ease of use, which even a person unfamiliar with computers can handle. Just install it and confirm the initial settings.

The first keyloggers were created in the 1970s and initially had little to do with computers. Developed by the Soviets, the device was used to capture content typed on IBM Selectric typewriters used by American diplomats residing in Moscow embassies and consulates.

The keylogger tracked the movement of the swivel head on the machine, and when a key was pressed, information was sent via radio frequency.

In 1983 the first software keylogger was created, written by computer scientist Perry Kivolowirz.


Anyone can install a keylogger by informing the computer owner in advance. This solution is often used by companies to protect themselves against employee fraud. Knowing that a spyware program is on the computer will discourage potential fraudsters. At the same time the employer is obligated to respect the confidentiality.

The second option is to use keyloggers for personal use. This means that the information gathered cannot be used in any way, nor shared with third parties. In other words, the knowledge gained cannot be used as evidence during a divorce case or as a basis for dismissal or punishment of the employee. A keylogger is therefore sometimes helpful in confirming or denying ones own fears. It is also possible to monitor a minor child to prevent them from making risky online friends.

The third circumstance is the most uncertain, but it is worth mentioning nonetheless. In legal jargon there is a term "fruit of the poisonous tree", which refers to evidence obtained in an unauthorized manner, e.g. by eavesdropping or by using keyloggers.

Under certain circumstances, the court may admit such evidence in a case that threatens the health or life of the defendant. It is important to show that without these "fruits" it would not be possible to prove the guilt of the criminal. However, everything depends on the judge, who may or may not accept such materials. So you should consult this issue in advance with a lawyer or private investigator.


How does a keylogger work? Lets start with the fact that these products are divided into software and hardware solutions.

Hardware keyloggers

Hardware keyloggers come in the form of plug-ins that act as a connection between the keyboard and the computer. Once the keylogger is installed and pre-configured, it records keystrokes on the internal memory.

One limitation is that physical keyloggers are designed for desktop computers only.

Among the best models are the Keygrabber family devices, such as the KeyGrabber WiFi Premium . The hardware is compatible with Windows, Mac OS and Linux, and has a built-in 4 GB memory capable of storing up to 1,000,000 pages of text.

Software keyloggers

Laptop users should be interested in software keyloggers. This solution offers more features than its hardware counterparts.

The program installed on the computer collects a record of typed keystrokes, but remains invisible to the computer user and anti-virus software. Software keyloggers often have additional functionality.

SpyLogger Mail Plus stands out in this field. It allows taking periodic screenshots and recording sound through the computers microphone. It is worth adding that all the collected files are sent to an e-mail address.

Remember that software keyloggers, like hardware keyloggers, must be installed physically on the selected computer - it cannot be done remotely. The same applies to removing the program from disc.