There’s no better way to protect against keylogging-related cyber threats than by using an anti-keylogger. Also known as anti-keystroke loggers, anti-keyloggers are cybersecurity software that’s designed to detect and neutralize keyloggers. If your computer becomes infected with a keylogger, an anti-keylogger will find and neutralize it.

Anti-keyloggers, however, use different technologies. Some of them are signature based, whereas others are heuristic analysis. What’s the difference between signature-based and heuristic analysis anti-keyloggers exactly?

What Is a Signature-Based Anti-Keylogger?

A signature-based anti-keylogger is a type of anti-keylogger that’s designed to identify keyloggers by their signature. Like with other forms of malware, keyloggers have a signature. Signature refers to the metaphorical footprint that a piece of software leaves behind. When installed, a signature-based anti-keylogger will scan your computer for the signatures of known keyloggers.

What is a Heuristic Analysis Anti-Keylogger?

A heuristic analysis anti-keylogger, on the other hand, is a type of anti-keylogger that’s designed to test questionable programs in a controlled environment while analyzing the programs’ activities for signs of keylogging. Most keyloggers behave in a similar way. With a heuristic analysis anti-keylogger, programs that may pose a risk for keylogging are tested in a digital sandbox.

Differences Between Signature-Based and Heuristic Analysis Anti-Keyloggers

Both signature-based anti-keylogger and heuristic analysis anti-keyloggers can protect your computer from keyloggers. With that said, they use different methods to identify keyloggers. Signature-based anti-keyloggers live up to their namesake by looking for signatures of keyloggers, whereas heuristic analysis anti-keyloggers work by testing questionable programs in a controlled environment.

Of those two types, signature-based anti-keyloggers are the most common. There are far more signature-based anti-keyloggers than there are heuristic analysis anti-keyloggers. But the downside to using a signature-based anti-keylogger is that it only protects against known and recorded keyloggers. New types of keyloggers are constantly emerging. If a new type of keylogger hasn’t been added to a signature-based anti-keylogger’s database, it may infect your computer without being noticed.

Heuristic analysis anti-keyloggers are typically more effective at protecting against keyloggers. They don’t rely on a database of signatures. Rather, heuristic analysis anti-keyloggers perform tests to identify all types of keyloggers. The only downside is that heuristic analysis anti-keyloggers are prone to false positives. They may mistakenly identify a legitimate program as a keylogger. Nonetheless, they are more effective at protecting against keyloggers than signature-based anti-keyloggers.

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