Keylogger vs keystroke counter. What’s good, what’s bad.


WorkTime – keystroke counter employee monitoring software


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There is plenty of software circulating right now on the market offering keylogging-related functions. At the same time, there is software offering keystroke counting. Both software types record keyboard use and both calculate keyboard use speed. Keylogger-type software goes beyond this functionality and offers content capturing, it records what people type. Now let’s dig into this topic deeper and discover the benefits and the hidden problems around keyloggers and key counters.

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1. Keystroke logger

Keystroke logger in employee monitoring or keylogger captures keyboard usage, key pressing speed, and key value. This function is mostly used to capture content. Also, it might be used to evaluate how frequently keyboard buttons are pressed.

Keystroke loggers are mostly used to capture content.

Why do employers want to capture content?

One of the reasons why employers want to capture content of emails, chats, documents, and other content is for security purposes when they want to make sure no confidential information is misused. Other reasons could be quality assurance or investigation. But instead of protecting, this approach might create security issues. While capturing content you record passwords, private information, and private messages. This information can leak out and potentially might be the reason for legal issues. A few examples can be found in this article. This Forbes article warns employers from using intrusive monitoring.

Keyloggers might be the reason for security problems.

Who else is interested in keylogging except for the employers?

Any malicious software is interested in capturing your content. This is in general to steal your passwords, your banking information, your money, and your private information. The targeted person is not aware of the software installed on their computer.

Keystroke logging is a trait of malicious software.

Is keystroke recorder a spy tool?

Keylogging is more of a hacking tool, most often introduced as a virus, and less often used to monitor employee performance. Keyloggers are capable of intercepting any text, including credit card numbers, passport details, and passwords.

When a keystroke recorder is used as an employee monitoring tool, there is a risk of personal data leakage. A lot of malware wants to log keystrokes as this is the easiest way to intercept the victim’s bank details.

In addition, keystroke loggers are very difficult to detect and they can record employees’ keystrokes even outside of the office hours, when employees are using their computer. Not everyone knows this, but the keystroke recorder in Windows 10 is present by default, and it potentially can also be used by attackers or viruses.

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Is keystroke logging software legal?

In the USA, keylogging is allowed by the federal legislation as long as it’s used for legitimate business reasons. Check this analysis by country in the WorkTime legal series blog section.

How to detect keystroke logger?

You can use this little free application to detect keyloggers: SpyDetectFree. The application checks for keylogger-like behavior on your computer. If any suspicious behavior is detected it will say that you are most likely spied on.

SpyDetectFree is a free application to detect keystroke loggers.

In general, detecting keystroke loggers is not easy, as they can run as a software or as a separate device connected to a PC.

It is advisable to delete keystroke loggers, as they can pass recorded keystrokes outside of your computer, and all your content, your emails, messages, passwords, and your entire work-related content can leak out and it can be used for malicious purposes.

Detecting windows 10 keylogger starts with checking for suspicious and unfamiliar applications in the system autorun, if any, you can disable or remove them. Installing an anti-spyware program might help with keystroke logger detection and eliminating it.

Check all USB inputs on your computer, since keyloggers can be embedded as an USB device.

2. Keystrokes counter

Keystroke counters capture keyboard/mouse usage and key usage speed. They do not capture content, so they do not cross the line of privacy.
WorkTime employee monitoring offers its keystroke counter so that employers can evaluate employee productivity: how fast they press buttons, which are the most “key-pressed” applications and websites, who is the fastest/slowest “key presser”. But this is one of the many other productivity monitoring functions WorkTime has to offer.

WorkTime keystroke counter

Why do employers want to use a keystroke counter?

Keystroke counters allow employers to automatically monitor employee productivity. With the help of this tool you can obtain detailed data on employee computer activity, such as number of keystrokes pressed, keystrokes per application, keystrokes per employee etc. Moreover, keystroke counters do not invade employee privacy as they do not capture any personal data, so no personal data can be exposed and there is no risk of information leakage.

Keystroke counters do not capture any content and are used mostly for employee productivity monitoring.

Is keystroke counter a spy tool?

Unlike recording keystrokes, this tool cannot be used for spying purposes as it does not capture any kind of content. For example, a keystroke counter function is part of WorkTime monitoring software. It captures keystrokes number, keystrokes pressing speed, and keystrokes per application/per employee.

Is keystroke counter legal?

Keystroke counters are permitted under the US law, read more about it in our blog WorkTime, its legal series.

3.Content-sensitive industries & employee monitoring

Healthcare, banking, financial, insurance defense, and government – all companies belonging to those industries deal with very important and very sensitive content. They also often have the need to monitor their employees, but not everything, just enough to monitor employee productivity. In the USA, for example, there is special legislation that regulates and protects patients’ health information – HIPAA.
The best way to monitor employees and not get into any unnecessary problems is to use employee monitoring software that does not capture any content. There are plenty of functions helping to fulfill employee productivity monitoring needs without going too far.

4. Keystroke counter for Windows (10, 11)

Windows 10 has a built-in keylogger but due to the privacy concerns employees keep this function off most of the time. This is understandable. If you want to count your keystrokes without any privacy invasion, simply use the WorkTime keystroke counter.

WorkTime offers non-invasive monitoring tools, in particular the keystroke counter.

WorkTime keystroke counter can be used instead of the Windows 10 and Windows 11 keylogger.

5. Non-invasive keystroke counter WorkTime

Worktime is the only non-invasive monitoring software on the market. Among many employee monitoring functions, WorkTime offers its keystroke counter.
WorkTime keystroke counter is a great tool to monitor employee productivity.

Keystrokes per application/website

WorkTime shows keystrokes per employee or per application/website. In WorkTime reports you can see the most “clickable” applications/websites, keystroke speed per application/website, and same per employee. WorkTime also shows if the application/website is productive or not. So, basically you know what are the most actively used productive and unproductive applications and websites.

Keystrokes per hour

WorkTime monitoring reports display very convenient charts in any browser. In WorkTime reports you can see which employees are the most productive and which are the least productive, as well the most and the least keystroke hours.

WorkTime keystroke counter

Worktime monitoring system does not use any spy functions to monitor employees. Convenient browser-based reports allow employee monitoring from any device (phone, desktop, laptop), any operational system (Windows, Apple). The below screenshot shows Keystroke per employee, application, is the application productive or not.
WorkTime keystroke counter

This report shows that a few employees are engaged in unproductive activities and the Microsoft Photos app is the most actively used:
WorkTime keystroke counter

WorkTime keystroke counter shows lots of useful details to measure employee productivity without crossing the boundary of employee personal space.
Worktime offers many monitoring functions for companies of any size in a wide range of industries. This monitoring software can improve work process efficiency and employee productivity without invading employee privacy.

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