Monday, November 15, 2010

Key Logger

What is a Key logger? I have learned something today. If you don't know what that is then read on.

When my husband was employed, he worked for a company that made highly sensitive weather hardened radio systems. Aside from the receivers all components to the systems were Consumer Off the Shelf (COtS) technologies. The components were bought from all over the world.

When they were pricing out vendors for computers there were “countries on a do not purchase from” list. These countries were known to trade heavily with and use components from China pretty much like the United States. However these countries did not scrutinize the components as heavily as companies that buy for the United States have to. China had been known to embed key loggers in firmware of hard drives or computers that these companies then in turn sold to the United States.

Key loggers on computers can be a good thing. It allows employers to know who is doing what on company systems and they can be a valuable asset to companies. However, imagine the harm that could be done if you did not know the key logger was there. Imagine a scenario where your company plugs a computer into the internet and a program is initiated that activates this key logger. The first thing that it does is notify the Chinese government that it is on line.

All of a sudden the Chinese government has access to every keystroke made on the computer. Every password, every username; everything. Imagine the nightmare that this scenario could cause your company; imagine if your company was crucial to national security.

That is the scenario my husband’s ex-employer faced when pricing and searching for a COtS vendor of a computer. Imagine the nightmare that would have been cause if a key logger made its way onto that computer. I bet even that would have been my husband’s fault (sad).


Shinade said...

I did not realize this and yes you are so so correct. I remember when I was a child living in America seemed like the safest place on earth.

At that time it probably was. But, times change and being American certainly isn't what it once was.

We have sold ourselves out. I try not to worry about our children and grand children's future. But, it's difficult not to worry these days.

Great post!

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