Be careful whenusing pubiccomputes. theives wil steal your banking and identity information...unless you're like George. (Just kidding!)

Be careful when using public computers. Thieves could be lying in wait to steal your banking and identity information.

Recently, hardware keyloggers were found on library computers in the UK.  I learned this from a post on the PCLinuxOS forums (by menotu).  You can read the article here.  You can also view a brief video from the BBC here.

You might be asking yourself, “What the heck is a hardware keylogger?”

A keylogger is a simple little device that plugs into the USB port of any computer.  Then, you plug the keyboard into the keylogger. Now, whatever is typed on the keyboard is automatically recorded by the keylogger device.

These devices are popular with writers.  I can imagine having one of these being a lifesaver if yourcomputer had drive crashed or became infected. You could simply unplug the keylogger, plug it into another computer, and retrieve all your keystokes/text.

They are perfectly legal.  And, as the linked article points out, a keylogger works on any computer running any operating system (Windows, Mac, or Linux).

“The advantages of using a hardware keylogger are that they work regardless of the operating system the host machine is running, require little expertise to use and they are very hard for anti-malware software to detect.”

And therein lies the problem. Because they are legal (and work universally), a thief can easily obtain one, plug it into a public computer, and allow it to record all the keystrokes of all the users.  He/she then returns to retrieve the device.  And the keylogger could now contain sensitive banking information, passwords, etc.

So the moral of the story here is, be very careful when using a public computer.  Think twice before using one for online banking or anything else that requires keying in sensitive information.


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