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Computer Keystroke Recorder

Computer Keystroke Recorder

In isolation or linked globally via the Internet, computers contain billions of pages of text, graphics, and other sources of information. Without safeguards to the computer hardware and software, this information is vulnerable.

This use and vulnerability of computers holds true for forensic science . Like other computer-intensive operations, safeguards that can monitor the activity of computer users can be a wise provision in forensic science.

One such safeguard is known as the computer keystroke recorder. As its name suggests, a computer keystroke recorder is a device for sequentially recording all the keys pressed on a computer keyboard. Numerous versions of keystroke recorders are available commercially, but much more sophisticated devices are used by government agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI ).

Also called a keystroke logger, key logger, or keylogger, a computer keystroke recorder is a program that runs in the background as the computer operates, recording all key depressions or strokes. Some such devices are plugged in manually, but the more effective types operate by means of a computer program. The latter may be introduced to the computer by means of a Trojan horse, a remotely inserted program that operates much like a virus.

An example of an FBI keystroke-recording Trojan is Magic Lantern, which made it possible to log keystrokes by means of a computer virus sent to a remote user's machine. The revelation of the device's use, reported by MSNBC News on December 12, 2001, invoked the ire of civil libertarians, as well as computer companies whose assistance the government sought. According to the MSNBC report, vendors of anti-virus software refused to cooperate with FBI requests to bypass special government-created Trojans and viruses used for security purposes.

The FBI and its computer keystroke recording technology also made the news in late 2001 due to its involvement in United States vs. Scarfo. The first known case of its kind, Scarfo involved a request by the defense to allow analysis of the keystroke recording technique used to gather evidence against the defendant. The government claimed protection of classified information under the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), and the court granted the government's motion.

The remote use of programs like Magic Lantern has been encouraged by the passage of the U.S. Patriot Act in 2001 and the Cyber Security Enhancement Act of 2002. These legislations, which were prompted by security concerns in the United States in light of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, have given government authorities far-reaching powers of access to any computer that is attached to the Internet. In some cases, the security procedures do not require court approval before being carried out.

see also Computer hackers; Computer hardware security; Computer software security.

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Computer Keystroke Recorder

Computer Keystroke Recorder

A computer keystroke recorder, as its name suggests, is simply a device for sequentially recording all the keys pressed on a computer keyboard. Keystroke recorders are available commercially, but much more sophisticated devices are used by government agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Also called a keystroke logger, key logger, or key logger, a computer keystroke recorder is a program that runs in the background as the computer operates, recording all key depressions or strokes. Some such devices are plugged in manually, but the more effective kind operate through means of a computer program. The latter may be introduced to the computer by means of a trojan horse, a remotely inserted program that operates much like a virus.

An example of an FBI keystroke-recording trojan is Magic Lantern, which made it possible to log keystrokes by means of a computer virus sent to a remote user's machine. The revelation of the device's use, reported by MSNBC News on December 12, 2001, invoked the ire of civil libertarians, as well as computer companies whose assistance the government sought. According to the MSNBC report, vendors of anti-virus software refused to cooperate with FBI requests to bypass special government-created trojans and viruses used for security purposes.

The FBI and its computer keystroke recording technology also made the news in late 2001 due to its involvement in United States v. Scarfo. The first known case of its kind, Scarfo involved a request by the defense to allow analysis of the keystroke recording technique used to gather evidence against the defendant. The government claimed protection of classified information under the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), and the court granted the government's motion.

FURTHER READING:

PERIODICALS:

Hentoff, Nat. "The FBI's Magic Lantern." Village Voice. 47, no. 22 (June 4, 2002): p. 35.

Huleatt, Richard S. "EPIC May Never Learn Details of Government Keystroke Monitor." Information Intelligence Online Newsletter 22, no. 10 (October 2001): 56.

ELECTRONIC:

FBI Confirms "Magic Lantern" Exists. MSNBC. <http://www.msnbc.com/news/671981.asp> (January 27, 2003).

SEE ALSO

Classified Information
Computer Hardware Security

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

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"Computer Keystroke Recorder." Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Computer Keystroke Recorder." Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/politics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/computer-keystroke-recorder

"Computer Keystroke Recorder." Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. . Retrieved October 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/politics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/computer-keystroke-recorder