Category Archives: PC Monitoring Application and Key Loggers

Zemana AntiLogger – An Ounce of Prevention

image Benjamin Franklin could have been talking about the Internet, and malware, when he reportedly said – “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Curing a malware infection caused by today’s sophisticated malware is much more difficult than it has ever been, and I’m convinced, that removing the malware we’re going to have to contend with in 2010, will be incrementally harder still.

Even today, malware tends to write itself into multiple parts of the operating system, and in many cases it can hide its files, registry entries, running process and services, making the infection virtually impossible to find, and remove, without causing operating system damage.

In the coming year, an average computer user who has to deal with even more complex malware infections, will be left with little choice other than having the infected machine worked on by a certified computer technician, who will have the tools, and the competency, to determine if the infection can be removed without causing system damage.

We’ve previously discussed Keylogger malware here, and how to employ an ounce of prevention by using highly regarded SnoopFree Privacy Shield, a free application, which unfortunately, is compatible with Windows XP only.

Because Keyloggers, a particularly sinister type of malware, that monitors every keystroke a user types on a computer’s keyboard, are often executed as part of a rootkit, or a remote administration (RAT) Trojan horse, they can be extremely difficult to detect, and remove.

While it’s true, that many good quality malware and spyware detection tools should capture Keyloggers, and a properly configured Firewall should prevent all authorized connections, the reality is – this is NOT always the case. Keyloggers in fact, can disable Firewalls and anti-malware tools.

Since my personal home machines now run on Windows 7, I can no longer protect against Keyloggers using SnoopFree Privacy Shield, so I had to find an alternative. Unfortunately, I could not find a freeware substitute application. However, I did find a competitively priced application, Zemana AntiLogger, following a reader’s recommendation, which I’ve been testing for a week or so.

I was immediately impressed by this application, particularly the system defense function. The application intercepted proposed changes to system files NOT picked up by other security applications on my system including WinPatrol, which really surprised me!

Since I use a Webcam extensively for communicating, I was more than happy to see the active Webcam protection offered by Zemana AntiLogger, which was immediately apparent.

Zamana Antilogger 2

Test Screens:

image

This is an example of a Zemana warning, triggered by my launching an anonymous proxy application which by design, injects code into my primary Browser. By checking an appropriate check box I established a rule, permitting this action in future.

image

This is an example of a Zemana warning, triggered by my updating both Microsoft Security Essentials and Malwarebytes definition databases which, in each case, will make changes to system files. Simply checking a check box establishes a rule, which will permit this action in future.

image

This is an example of a Zemana warning, triggered by a screen capture utility I was in the process of using. If this had been an illegal activity. I would of course, have received the same warning. Again, simply checking a check box establishes a rule, which will permit this action, by this utility, in future.

Fast facts:

Secure your Internet banking and financial transactions

Protect information in emails and Instant Messages

Protect keystrokes from spyware

Protect all screen images

Webcam Logger protection

System Defense

No need to download latest virus signatures

No need to know or detect the malware’s signature

No need to wait for updates from a virus lab

No need to scan files

Proactively looks for suspicious activity

Catches not just the usual suspects, but also sophisticated “zero day” malware

Prevents theft of data via secure connections (HTTPS / SSL)

Does not slow down your PC

Easy to download, install and use

Future-proof

System requirements: Windows Vista, XP and 7 compatible

All the signposts point to 2010 being a banner year for cyber-criminals. Being prepared and being aware, while not a panacea, will continue to be a key element in mitigating risk exposure.

If keylogger protection, and maintaining your privacy is a concern, you might consider adding this application to your security toolbox.

This application is not freeware, but you may download a 15 day trial version at: Zemana

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

14 Comments

Filed under Anti-Keyloggers, Anti-Malware Tools, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Internet Safety Tools, PC Monitoring Application and Key Loggers, Privacy, Software, Software Trial Versions, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

USBThief – Designed to Steal Your Passwords

Stolen passwords 1 We all know that the purpose of computer passwords is to protect personal information that you’ve stored on your computer, as well as in your online accounts.

With access to confidential passwords, cyber-criminals (they come in all shapes, sizes and flavors – so don’t be fooled), can and will, steal your identity and without a doubt, severely compromise your financial security. Stolen passwords have the potential to cause serious havoc in your life.

There are numerous ways of course that a password, or software license key, can be stolen. Popular methods employed by cyber criminals include:

Email scams: Email scams work because the Cyber-crooks responsible use social engineering as the hook; in other words, they exploit our curiosity, emotions and fears, to start the process of infecting unaware computer users’ machines

Search engine redirection: Cyber-crooks continue to be unrelenting in their chase to infect web search results, seeding malicious websites among the top results returned by these engines. Malware, including password stealers can be installed on a computer simply by visiting a site.

Drive-by downloads: Drive-by downloads are not new; they’ve been lurking around for years it seems, but they’ve become much more common recently. They are crafted to automatically download and install malware, including password stealers, on your computer without your knowledge.

Now, added to the burden we already carry in protecting our computers, our private personal information, and our confidential financial information, we have to be careful, and perhaps even suspicious of our friends, or for that matter anyone, who inserts a USB drive including MP3 players, into a USB port on our computer.

USBThief is a free hacking application available for download on virtually every torrent download site that I investigated – which can be installed on a USB flash drive, or even an iPod, or other MP3 player. I haven’t tried to install this on a Digital Camera, but I suspect (with some modification), that it can be done. Consider how often a friend, or family member, has connected any one of these peripherals to your machine.

Stolen passwords 4

USBThief has been designed and crafted with only one purpose in mind, and that is to steal both the passwords, and software keys, on the duped party’s computer.

The culprit doesn’t need to be a seasoned hacker; all that’s needed is that an ethically challenged individual download the program; decompress the archive and put all the files located in the folder “USBThief” onto a USB drive.

After connecting and removing the tweaked USB drive from the victim’s computer, the cyber-criminal simply views the dump folder to view the captured information.

Should you now be suspicious of your family, or your friends? Of course not; but you do need to be aware of the ever increasing challenges we all face in protecting our valuable information.

Good news for all of us however, is in the works. Windows 7 addresses this problem with its Guest Mode feature which when activated, will prevent users from writing to any USB, or other attached device or drive.

2 Comments

Filed under Don't Get Hacked, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Malware Advisories, PC Monitoring Application and Key Loggers, Software, System Security, USB, Windows Tips and Tools

Stop Keyloggers in Their Tracks – Free SnoopFree Privacy Shield

Today, the most dangerous and most finely crafted malware, will not generally impact your system resources in such a way as to cause noticeable slow down.

This type of malware is designed to remain undetected and to be as stealthy as possible, so that it can get on with its designated task, which most often results in identity theft and the compromising of your financial data.

One of the most insidious of this type of malware, one I have always taken special care to guard against, is the keylogger.

A keylogger, or system monitor, is a small program (not always malware), that monitors every keystroke a user types on a computer’s keyboard. A keylogger program does not always require physical access to the user’s computer. It can be downloaded, on purpose, by someone who wants to monitor activity on a particular computer, or it can be downloaded unwittingly as spyware, and executed as part of a rootkit or remote administration (RAT) Trojan horse.

A malware keylogger typically consists of two files: a dynamic link library (DLL) file (which does all the recording) and an executable file (.EXE) that installs the DLL file and triggers it to work. The keylogger program records each keystroke and uploads the information over the Internet.

Luckily, there is a remedy for this type of malware threat.

(Click pic for larger)

SnoopFree Privacy Shield is a powerful application that guards your keyboard, screen and open windows from all spy software. It makes it virtually impossible for any spy program to work on your computer; since SnoopFree Privacy Shield’s unique protection works against spy software in real time.

I have been using this application for quite some time, and I have been amazed at the number of programs that have requested access to my keyboard and screen, particularly programs that I was in the process of installing. Since I test a lot of applications, I see this type of program behavior frequently. Unless there are valid reasons for this type of access, I don’t allow it. Surprisingly, in most cases the application installs correctly. Curious!

If you’re serious about privacy, then this free application is a must have addition to your security toolbox.

System Requirements: Unfortunately, this application works on Windows XP only.

Download at: Download.com

1 Comment

Filed under Anti-Keyloggers, Anti-Malware Tools, Don't Get Hacked, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, Online Safety, PC Monitoring Application and Key Loggers, Privacy, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, Surveillance, System Security, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Free Parental Control Bar – Protect Your Child on the Internet

There is little doubt that the Internet neighborhood can provide a rich educational and cultural experience for children of all ages and backgrounds. But would you drop your child off in a neighborhood where more than half of the buildings were adult stores, and it was potentially full of predators? Well of course you wouldn’t.

But if you let your child explore the Internet unsupervised, or without having communicated to your child information about potential on-line dangers, this is close to what you’re doing.

According to the FBI in the United States, the following are some of the most important positive actions, you as a parent, can take to reduce your child’s possible victimization on the Internet.

  • Communicate, and talk to your child about potential on-line dangers.
  • Spend time with your children on-line. Have them teach you about their favorite on-line destinations.
  • Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child’s bedroom.
  • Utilize parental controls provided by your service provider and/or blocking software.

Since computer-sex offenders are a very real danger on the Internet, the FBI suggests that you instruct your children to:

  • Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met on- line.
  • Never upload (post) pictures of themselves onto the Internet or an on-line service to people they do not personally know.
  • Never give out identifying information such as their name, home address, school name, or telephone number.
  • Never download pictures from an unknown source; there is a good chance there could be sexually explicit images.
  • Never respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, or harassing.

An important aspect of ensuring that your child is safe while using the Internet, (recommended by the FBI and child safety experts/organizations) is the installation of parental control software.Parental controls will provide you with the advantage of being able to:

  • Block access to materials (text and pictures) identified as inappropriate for kids.
  • Permit access only to materials specifically approved as safe for kids.
  • Specify what types of materials are appropriate for your child.
  • Monitor your child’s activity on the Internet by storing names of sites and/or snapshots of material seen by your child on the computer for you to view later.
  • Set different restrictions for each family member.
  • Limit results of an Internet search to content appropriate for kids.
  • Enforce time limits set by parents.

A free solution, available as a download on the Internet is ParentalControl Bar, a browser toolbar which works on Internet Explorer only, despite the website claim that it works on other browsers.ParentalControl Bar is provided free of charge to the public by WRAAC.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free, effective internet control tools.

ParentalControl Bar Features

Child/Parent Mode

This status indicator makes it easy to tell if your computer is in Child-Mode or Parent-Mode. When in Child-Mode, control features are enabled and web sites are blocked based on your parental settings. When in Parent-Mode, control features are disabled and you, the parent, have unrestricted access to the Internet.

Parental Password

A single password makes it easy for you, the parent, to enable or disable Child-Mode. There is a hint to help you remember your password, or if you forget it completely have it sent to a parental email address.Help Menu

Clicking this button opens the toolbar menu where parents can access tutorials, help menus or change your password.

Change Parental Settings

Clicking this button opens the parental settings menu where you can specify the types of content you wish to block your family from accessing in Child-Mode. You can also manage your personal list of ‘blocked’ and ‘child-safe’ sites from this menu.

Easily Block Adult Sites

The toolbar helps block a significant amount of adult-oriented websites. In addition, you may select specific sites to block by clicking this button. Once you have added a website to the ‘blocked sites’ list it is only accessible in Parent-Mode

Parental Alert

When the toolbar is in Child-Mode, this parental alert blocks your child from accessing adult-oriented websites (based on your parental settings).

Add Web Site to Safe List

Clicking this button adds the website you are currently visiting to the ’safe site’ list. Once a website is added to the ’safe site’ list it can be accessed from either Child-Mode or Parent-Mode (regardless of site label).

For parents looking for a cost-effective tool to help give their children controlled freedom on the Internet, Parental Control Bar is a safe way to go.

Download at: WRAAC.org

For more information on Internet safety issues for parents and /children/teenagers, visit CNET. This site includes information on the following.

  • Developing safe and smart Internet citizens
  • Parents, tech outdo lawmakers on Internet safety
  • Parental controls that keep tabs on young Web surfers
  • User-generated videos challenge parental controls
  • Growing concerns over cyber bullying
  • Readers address online safety for kids

2 Comments

Filed under Browser add-ons, Freeware, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Internet Safety for Children, Internet Safety Tools, PC Monitoring Application and Key Loggers, Software, Surveilance Tools, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

The Perversion of a Technology – Hi- Tech Spousal Abuse

The U.S. Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) defines domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional, economic, and psychological abuse.

This article is gender neutral; clearly both men and women can be victims of domestic violence and abusive behavior.

Most of us would agree that new technology is, in most cases, neutral. It is how we implement technology that establishes its value, and impacts any ethical questions that surrounds its use. It is clear that virtually all technologies, if used improperly, can be used to cause damage.

Over the past few months I have reviewed several computer monitoring and keylogger products which I must admit, naïve as this may sound, I had not considered could be misused as an aid in spousal abuse until it was brought to my attention. I supposed I shouldn’t have been quite as surprised as I was; after all many of these products are advertised as a method to detect a cheating spouse.

Curious about this, I Googled “cheating spouse” and I was surprised to see over 900,000 hits. More surprising was the number of hits on “keyloggers for cheating spouse”; over 95,000.

Probing this further, I learned that this type of technology is now pervasive in spousal abuse. According to Anna Stepanov, manager of the Anti-Spyware program at McAfee Avert Labs, “Using spyware for surveillance in cases of domestic abuse is a serious matter.”

Stepanov, who is also the author of a report entitled Spyware: A Morphing Campaign, which describes current spyware trends that includes domestic abuse, states “Monitoring a victim’s online, cell phone, or general computing activity is of more value than ever in controlling or hurting a victim.”

Cindy Southworth, technology director at the National Network to End Domestic Violence commenting on this issue has stated “With spyware, if the victim is thinking about leaving, all that is captured. If the victim looks for plane tickets, shelters, a new apartment, it all shows up in the computer logs.”

Since spyware is now an issue in domestic abuse the agency cautions those in an abusive relationship not to use their home computer for these kinds of tasks.

All of this has now been compounded by the news that the misuse of GPS technology by abusive individuals is now rampant. GPS can be used to track a victim by transmitting coordinates that result in the generation of a web page that maps the victim’s location.

The U.S. National Network to End Domestic Violence suggests the following to computer users, to reduce the impact of this type of abuse.

Internet Safety Tips

  • If you are in danger, please try to use a safer computer that someone abusive does not have direct or remote hacking access to.
  • If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably are. Abusive people are often controlling and want to know your every move. You don’t need to be a computer programmer or have special skills to monitor someone’s computer and Internet activities – anyone can do it and there are many ways to monitor with programs like Spyware, keystroke loggers and hacking tools.
  • It is not possible to delete or clear all the “footprints” of your computer or online activities. If you are being monitored, it may be dangerous to change your computer behaviors such as suddenly deleting your entire Internet history if that is not your regular habit.
  • If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, be careful how you use your computer since an abuser might become suspicious. You may want to keep using the monitored computer for normal activities, such as looking up the weather or recipes. Use a safer computer to research an escape plan, look for new jobs or apartments, bus tickets, or ask for help.
  • Email and Instant/Text Messaging (IM) are not safe or confidential ways to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life. If possible, please call a hotline instead. If you use email or IM, please use a safer computer and an account your abuser does not know about.
  • Computers can store a lot of private information about what you look at via the Internet, the emails and instant messages you send, internet-based phone and IP-TTY calls you make, web-based purchases and banking, and many other activities. It might be safer to use a computer in a public library, at a community technology center (CTC), at a trusted friend’s house, or an Internet Café.

1 Comment

Filed under Internet Safety, Living Life, Online Safety, PC Monitoring Application and Key Loggers, Personal Perspective, Privacy, Safe Surfing, Surveilance Tools, Surveillance, Windows Tips and Tools

Monitor Computer Usage with KeyProwler – PC Monitoring Application and Key Logger

keyprowler-pro_1.pngOne of my friends has three teenaged boys so it’s no coincidence that I’m called on every few months to clean his home system of spyware, adware, and occasionally, other forms of malware. Despite his setting up clear rules for use for the computer, covering such issues as pornographic web sites, peer to peer downloading, and to some extent social engineering concerns on such sites as FaceBook, teenaged boys will be teenaged boys.

One of the problems of course in assigning blame for the misuse of a PC where there is more than one user involved, is the “I didn’t do it” issue. In the past, he has been faced with the impossible task of trying to assign the responsibility for breaking the rules to the suspected guilty party. Now there may be a solution.

Enter the PC monitoring/Key logger application. I know that there are those who will consider this an overreaction; not many are comfortable with the idea of spying on others. On the other hand, there are those who will find this solution to be appropriate; particularly where system security, and potentially personal security are involved.

KeyProwler is a monitoring application for Windows that is easy to setup and easy to use which allows the user to remotely monitor any PC, secretly or not. It runs completely hidden and does not appear in the start menu, add/remove applet, or in the task manager.

The knowledge that such an application will be running on my friend’s computer, may act as the deterrent it is intended to be, and perhaps convince the boys to follow the rules and act more responsibly (my friend’s definition), while using the family computer.

For those who are more seriously concerned with remotely monitoring a PC, then this application may well be the right tool for you. Following a simply installation, the program records all activity on the computer and will transmit log files directly to the user’s email inbox. No complex email setup is required, simply enter the email address and KeyProwler does the rest. Start/Stop buttons make logging easy.

As well, KeyProwler lets you read messages sent on MySpace, FaceBook or any other internet site, and snaps a screenshot of pages viewed.

Quick facts:

  • Employee monitoring
  • Child monitoring
  • Educational monitoring
  • Recover MySpace passwords
  • Recover forgotten usernames, passwords
  • Recover typed documents
  • Get your child’s password and username
  • Get MySpace and FaceBook passwords
  • View Emails
  • View hidden password boxes
  • View Instant Message conversations
  • View MySpace messages
  • Web Browsers and Search Engines
  • View all applications
  • Copies Clipboard
  • Pictures and profiles viewed
  • Captures keyboard input

 

Requirements: Windows 98| NT| 2000| XP| Vista

Download 30 day trial version at: KeyProwler

2 Comments

Filed under Internet Safety for Children, Online Safety, PC Monitoring Application and Key Loggers, Privacy, Safe Surfing, Software, Software Trial Versions, Surveilance Tools, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools