Guest Post by John Jones:
If you need to monitor your computer activity while you are away you’ll need computer monitoring software. Also known as a “Keylogger,” computer monitoring software can monitor every aspect of activity from printers to web browsing. The term Keylogger comes from the days of MS-DOS, when all you needed to monitor was someones keystrokes. Today, now that computers are a little more complex than 20 years ago, the applications have evolved to be able to monitor our more advanced activities.
Most computer monitoring software will have a certain set of features which don’t differ much between developers. Of course, some features will vary in their details and some developers will have features that others don’t, but the standard set of features have been the same for the past 5-10 years. We’ll take a look at what you’ll find included in the average keylogger.
As mentioned above, the name Keylogger is still interchangeable with ‘Computer Monitoring Software’ but these days the keyloggers are just the first function you’ll find within the software. Keyloggers will monitor all keystrokes typed, along with the time and date and the application they we’re typed into. That leads us onto the second function you’ll find – application monitoring. Most software will monitor all applications used, along with the time and date they were used.
The next most common feature you’ll find will be screenshot capturing. Screenshots can be set to be taken either every X seconds or whenever a new window is focused or new applications is opened. Screenshots will usually be shown in chronological order, along with the time and date of the snap and the name of the active application.
Documents will also be monitored. Whenever a new file is created, saved, opened or deleted, the software will log it, again along with the date and time. Printed documents will be monitored, with the name of the documents and the name of printer that was used. Of course to monitor all aspects of word processing, the clipboard must be monitored, so that everything copied and pasted will be logged. This is a feature to look out for in monitoring software.
Today, no monitoring application would be complete without the ability to monitor internet activity. With most of our computer use being online on sites like Facebook, YouTube, Gmail or Skype, anything that didn’t monitor internet activity just wouldn’t be enough. Most computer monitoring software has that ability, and will monitor all websites visited along with the keystrokes entered into those websites (perfect for monitoring web mail) and a snapshot of the website.
These are the features you’ll find in most computer monitoring software. As I mentioned above, they will vary from developer to developer but this is the standard set you should look for. Of course, all of the above features would be almost useless they worked in stealth. When looking for computer monitoring software, make sure the software isn’t shown in the task manager when in hidden mode. Or in the add/remove programs list etc. Most software will run in hidden mode until you call up the user interface using a secret key combination and password.