Technobiography

Mobile phones, services and applications. PCs, PDAs, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Internet, gadgets, electronics, photography. A technology-life journal ... Relaxed prose, sometimes witty, sometimes funny, reflective and insightful. Short and sweet. Filipino.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

PC Praning - TypeRecorder spyware

Akala ni wifey ko kung sino ang naka-away ko.

We were at an internet shop to check mail on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of a three day weekend sa province.

After reading a few emails in my Gmailbox, a pop-up message came up. It said that the computer had a trial software called TYPERECORDER.

First reaction: "Sheet! What have I typed?!"

After verification at the software developer's website, I confirmed what I suspected: The computer I was using had a software that was recording each and every key I was typing!

The software is a key logger. A text file hidden somewhere in the computer has my Gmail username and password! Buti I hadn't typed anything more sensitive than that.

Imagine if I used that computer to login my BPI Express Online account (I never use my BPI Online on public computers). Anyone who gains access to the key log file will have my password and access to my BPI account. Scary!

I consider myself lucky that I found out about the software. Fact is, the software could be running on ANY computer and the users would never know. Tsk tsk tsk.

I told my wifey that we were leaving the Internet shop. I called the attention of the shop attendant. I told him:

"It is the responsibility of the shop owner to ensure that their computers don't have software like this," showing him the pop-up message on the computer screen.

He replied that they couldn't avoid it. He said a technician was coming the next day to find the erring software and fix it.

Too late, your explanation. We're leaving! Sabay irap, parinig sa ibang users kung bakit galit, sabay walk-out. Ang taray!

It pays to be vigilant and informed.

I wonder if there's an online service that I could run when I use a public PC that will indicate whether the computer is "clean" and free from keyloggers or other spyware.

Time to change my Gmail password before anybody tries to get in.

ka edong
tech praning

10 Comments:

  • At 9:04 pm, Anonymous chris lagman said…

    That can be a type of spyware... you can use a free on-line scanner like Trend Micro's - at http://www.trendmicro.com/spyware-scan/

    Chris

     
  • At 7:46 pm, Anonymous ka_edong said…

    ayos! I tried it out just now, chris. it's working well. It took some time, though. ... around 10 mins siguro.

    Well, it isn't as quick as i was hoping, but it does the job well.

    thanks!

    edwin

     
  • At 7:49 pm, Blogger Jepoy said…

    ako paranoid na.. hindi nako nalologin sa mga emails ko sa mga public pcs.. kahit sa school dati.. kahit sa mga pinsan ko. hahahaha! :P

     
  • At 2:54 pm, Blogger ako said…

    problema ko rin yan, di naman kaagad malalaman ng ordnaryong user kung may keylogger so sila yung most likely na maging victim.

     
  • At 9:57 am, Anonymous yuga said…

    There are lots of anti-spywares out there one can use. Spycop is one of them.

     
  • At 11:26 am, Blogger Edwin "ka edong" said…

    Jepoy,
    over ka naman. Gamitan mo ng lasticman powers mo! ;-)

    dean,
    try out http://www.trendmicro.com/spyware-scan/. See if it works for you.

    Yuga,
    so far, the link of Chris works for me. It's (a) a free service and (b) it runs on any computer from an online source.

    This is what I need during the times that I use a public computer.

    Yung Spycop doesn't meet the two criteria, as far as i've read on their website.

    ka edong

     
  • At 1:34 pm, Blogger iandexter said…

    Heh. Aside from being paranoid, I'm also O.C.:

    When using other people's computers, I open up a text editor and type in gibberish -- just random characters from the keyboard. I then cut and paste each character *at random* in the textbox input fields for my username and password. A bit tedious -- specially in the password field, as I have to keep track of what position I placed the characters -- but it frustrates the snoopers. :)

     
  • At 2:16 pm, Anonymous ka edong said…

    Hahahaha! O.C.!!!!!!! ;-p
    I bet it does frustrate em snooopers!

    ka edong

     
  • At 3:53 am, Anonymous retz said…

    I bet the PC you used has a Ragnarok Online and or any other MMORPG installed on em too. Rampant installaton of keyloggers on Public Cafes were much because of these games, primarily for hacking a paid game account.
    @dex - some keyloggers are able to record clipboard/ input/ notepad/ etc. so the gibberish thingie might wont work.
    I dont go to public cafes with these games installed. Kehet adik na adik na mag-blog hehe. Creepy talaga, kakainis at kaparanoid.

     
  • At 6:11 am, Anonymous chris lagman said…

    hey edwin, thanks for recommending the trend micro antispyware scan :) libreng advertising dito sa sito mo. hehehe!

     

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