Several days ago, an article appeared in PPJG about the government’s collusion with computer manufacturers to install a hardware keystroke logger in all new laptop computers.

For the technically-inclined, defense against this device (which is the KeyGhost Keylogger) is fairly simple: you just open up the case and remove it.

For those who are not as technically inclined and who don’t want to pay someone else to remove the device, there is at least a partial solution readily available for free, and that is the virtual or on-screen keyboard, a software emulation of your hardware keyboard.

While an on-screen keyboard is too slow and clumsy for use in typing messages and other documents (you click its keys with your mouse, one at a time), it can at least be useful in entering passwords and other sensitive login data without the need to touch your hardware keyboard. This way, at least you keep the Department of Homeland Security away from your login data.

There are several on-screen keyboard applications available for free download on the internet and there is at least one for all Windows, Mac and Linux users.

For Windows:

Windows XP Onscreen Keyboard

Click-n-Type

On-Screen Keyboard

For Mac:

Switch XS

For Linux:

Gnome On-Screen Keyboard

In addition to manual removal of the hardware keylogger and the virtual keyboard software route, there is yet another solution, if you’re using Firefox as your web browser. It’s a Firefox add-on called KeyScrambler, which can be used to encrypt your keystrokes so that they can’t be read. The only drawback is that KeyScrambler works on software keyloggers but may not be able to defeat a hardware keylogger like KeyGhost.