You can easily find keyloggers for Windows or MAC computers, but if you want to download a keylogger for Linux, you will meet a problem: there are just a few solutions for Linux. Ubuntu users would meet the same problem. To make your life easier, we have collected all popular the keyloggers for Linux on this page and shared the best solutions that are worth the download in 2019.
What Is a Keylogger for Linux?
A keylogger is an app that stores or logs keystrokes. In simple words, this software will “catch” and record the keys that were pressed. Key logging is the process of storing keystrokes. It can be done with or without the user’s knowledge. Usually, such software works while hidden so as not to let the target person know.
Keyloggers can be implemented through not only software but also hardware. The hardware version of a keylogger does not depend on any software and recording is performed at the hardware level. Conversely, a software keylogger depends on special software that must be installed on the target device.
Most keyloggers are made for Windows and Mac computers. It is quite hard to find a good solution for Linux or Ubuntu, but there are some nice options, and we have collected all of them. There are keyloggers for smartphones as well — for example, you can download special spy apps for iOS and Android.
Why You Need to Download a Keylogger for Linux
Keyloggers for Linux do the same thing that keylogger apps do for any other operating system. You can use this software for many different purposes:
- Business: to track employees’ activities
- Parental Supervision: to track kids’ activities
- Spouses: to monitor your husband’s, wife’s, boyfriend’s, or girlfriend’s activities
- Personal: to make recordings or file backups or for security reasons
For example, you can run a keylogger on a Linux computer and track if someone has used your computer. You would see what was typed and when.
There are dozens of options for how to use a keylogger, and everything is limited only by your imagination. However, note that spying on somebody may be illegal in your country. Before spying, be sure that you will not break the laws of your country.
The Top Five best keyloggers for Linux
Below you will find a list of the five best keyloggers:
You can also create your own app based on an already existing solution, but let’s go step-by-step from the easiest and best solution.
Logkeys is one of the most well-known keyloggers for Linux. Some people call logkeys keyboard spy software. The program allows you to record everything that the user enters on the keyboard. This keylogger can be used to spy or recover passwords as well.
You can download logkeys for free from the GitHub. The author shared his product for free.
If you have ever installed Linux tarball packages from source code, then you can easily install the logkeys package. If you have not yet installed the package in Linux from the source, then you’ll need to install some missing packages, such as the C++ compilers and the GCC libraries. For that, you should run the following:
$ sudo apt-get install build-essential
# yum install gcc make gcc-c++
After you have installed all the libraries, you must copy the project from GitHub:
$ git clone https://github.com/kernc/logkeys.git
Make sure that you have Git module installed. Without this module, you will not be able to clone the project. After you succeed, you must configure the app:
$ cd build
$ sudo make install
That is all. The final step is to run the local-gen feature: $ sudo locale-gen.
How to Use Logkeys
To run the app, you must type $
sudo logkeys -s.
You can test the app. For that, type
Then try to write something on your keyboard. To stop the keystroke process, you must enter
The app has several features:
-m: specify keymap
-o: log file path
-u: use en_US keymap
-d: device file
After the first launch, we highly recommend checking if logkeys logged the strokes. For that, proceed to the folder – /var/log/logkeys.log. This is the standard folder, but if you want, you can set anther folder — do so if you are tracking somebody because logkeys’ folder may cause suspicions. For example, you can set the new path and new name to temp.log or any other name that would not cause any suspicions.
SKeylogger is a perfect alternative for logkeys. This app was written in C++ and works fast and stably as well. The installation process is similar to logkeys. You first need to make a clone from GitHub:
$ git clone https://github.com/gsingh93/simple-key-logger
$ cd simple-key-logger
Then, you must run the app as a root:
$ sudo ./skeylogger. Logged data will be saved in /var/log/skeylogger.log.
The drawback of Skeylogger is that it has less flexibility than logkeys. You can only change the folder for the stored log and see the help file — that’s all.
KeySniffer is a Linux kernel module. This app was created to grab any keys pressed on the keyboard. This keylogger was initially made only for US keyboards, but with an extension, it works with other keyboards as well (for example, Hindi).
Installation and the running process is same as with logkeys and SKeylogger. You just need to change the source to https://github.com/BastilleResearch/keysniffer and run the following:
sudo apt-get install sdcc binutils python python-pip
sudo pip install -U pip
sudo pip install -U -I pyusb
sudo pip install -U platformio
The app is flexible; all key codes are collected in /usr/include/linux/input-event-codes.h.
The main pro of KeySniffer is that it’s camouflaged. The target person will not recognize that he or she has been tracked because the kernel module of KeySniffer blends in with other kernel modules that run on the target device. We recommended using KeySniffer for if you want to keep the keylogger hidden without letting the target person know.
However, the developer does not recommend using the app for tracking third-party devices. As the developer announced, his app is available only for key stroking on your own device. However, of course, you may use KeySniffer as you wish — technically, there are no restrictions that interfere with tracking another person.
There is a second KeySniffer from another developer — https://github.com/jarun/keysniffer. Both apps are quite similar, and you may choose whichever one you want.
LKL Linux KeyLogger
For those who are more familiar with SourceForge, we recommend LKL Linux KeyLogger. This product is still a beta version, but it already works well.
LKL has not been updated more than three years. It is old school but a very reliable solution even in 2019. The app runs under Linux on the x86 arch. The software logs every key pressed on the keyboard. All key codes are translated to ASCII with a keymap file.
LKL was created in 2004! For those who are searching for a simple keylogger for Linux, this free app could be the best solution.
PyKeylogger is presented both on GitHub and SourceForge. This app was made as a concept of a pure-python keylogger. Of course, it uses Xlib, so without an X connection, you will not be able to use the app properly.
With PyKeylogger, you can monitor any pressed keys. Just run the code:
now = time.time()
done = lambda: time.time() > now + 60
def print_keys(t, modifiers, keys): print "%.2f %r %r" % (t, keys, modifiers)
This app has a very detailed Readme file. If you are the beginner with Linux, PyKeylogger is one of the best solutions you would find in 2019.
Do It Yourself: Create Your Own Keylogger for Linux
Many users of the Linux operating system are programmers and people who understand programming. If you belong to this group of people, then you can make your own keylogger on Python! Of course, if you are more familiar with C++ or another language, you can choose another library, but Python is one of the easiest languages.
How to Create Your Own Keylogger
If you do not have Python-Xlib installed, ten you have to install it. There are two ways to install Xlib:
- Use pip:
pip install python-xlib
- Use the system package manager:
sudo apt-get install python-xlib
Of course, you will not need to write the code from the zero — you can use ready-made solutions. For example, you can use Keylogger from GiacomoLaw: https://github.com/GiacomoLaw/Keylogger.
You will need to create a clone of any open-source keylogger project. Check if you have the git module installed. Then start a process:
git clone https://github.com/GiacomoLaw/Keylogger
This query will clone the entire repo. After the cloning process is finished, find the Linux folder and extract it. Rename the extracted folder to linux-keylogger and then run the following:
root@linux:~$ cd "linux-keylogger"
To run the keylogger on Python, you need to run the following:
$ python keylogger.py
RECORD extension version 1.13
You should use Python 2 or 3 to be able to run this program.
Keylogger from GiacomoLaw is an example. You can find many other projects on GitHub as well, but we chose the project from GiacomoLaw as one of the easiest to configure and improve or change the code. In the repository, you will find installation files and guidelines on how to set it up.
For example, you can set the folder for logging the files, set the start key, and so on. By setting some parameters, you can create your own project that suits your needs.
If this solution does not work for you, you can code an extension on Python. You can do it with the other options as well, but keylogger from GiacomoLaw has the cleanest code, and it is quite easy to add some features.
The Best Linux Keyloggers for 2019
The keyloggers mentioned above are the best Linux solutions to track keyboards, but there’re some other applications:
As we mentioned, there are just a few options for Linux. There are many more keyloggers for Windows and Android. To get information about the target device and learn all about the target person, you could use alternatives solution as well.
Alternatives for Linux Keyloggers
Here you can find alternatives for Linux both on PC and mobile phones.
Computers and Laptops
According to NetMarketShare’s report, less than 1% of tech users in the world use Linux. Most people use Windows and OS X (Mac OS) on the computers and Android or iOS on smartphones. Therefore, it is hard to call Linux keyloggers the most suitable solution. If you want to track somebody, there is a better chance that the target person uses Windows or Mac. Even you are skilled Linux user, to track someone you have to think like the target person and match his or her skills.
Windows and MAC keyloggers usually are more developed and easier to use. For example, with Refog, you can secretly install it in several clicks on any Windows or OS X device. You will not need to a clone and set the app — just a simple installation process, and that is all!
In 2019, it is quite hard to imagine a person without a smartphone, even you! Do you have a smartphone in your pocket or on your table? We guess more than 80% of readers say yes! Therefore, to get more information about the target person, you could use a keylogger for their smartphone. For example, imagine that your spouse or employees do not use the computer to share the information that you want to track.
Hoverwatch is one of the best keyloggers for Android smartphones. It’s a flexible solution that allows you to track the target device secretly and from a distance. You do not need to touch the target phone — all logged information is stored in the control panel. This panel is available online from any browser; just log in to your account and get access to the logged information.
Hoverwatch is an all-in-one solution, not just keylogger. You will be able to track phone calls, browser history, contact lists, and much more. It is an ideal tool for people who want to spy on somebody or for caring about someone.
How to Detect a Keylogger on Your Device and Delete It
If you are on the target person or the victim, then you should be ready to detect keylogger and delete it.
How to Detect a Keylogger
Most keyloggers work secretly, but nothing is completely hidden. Any app makes a shadow in the operating system. Use the following tips to detect a keylogger on any device:
- Check the processes that are running on your device.
- Check the installed applications.
- Pay attention to strange behavior from your device.
Some apps are camouflaged. You may see a name like “Security,” “Service,” or “Core,” but in reality, it could be a keylogger. Your task is to check the running processes and be sure about every process. If you do not know about some processes, search them on Google or try to stop the process and see what happens.
An installed application is better to check manually. You can’t rely on the software, and some keyloggers work as a spy app, and they won’t be seen by a simple software checker. Check all the folders on your computer, including the hidden ones.
Do not panic if you find keylogger. First, investigate the type of program and, if you can where the app is sending the logged data. The latter is not always possible, but you should at least try.
How to Delete a Keylogger
You can try to delete it the same way as any other app, but it usually does not work. Spy apps are hard to delete, so you can use a radical method: do a factory reset or even reinstall the operating system.
Deleting is just the beginning. You will be a victim again if you do not care about the security of your device. You must install an antivirus program and care about your ports’ safety. This is very important for Linux users. You can easily protect your device — just use a different level of the root-access.
Which Linux Keylogger Should You Download in 2019?
You may choose any Linux keylogger we mentioned above. Those apps are similar to each other, so choose the solution that is easiest for you to manage.
Do not forget about other devices. If you want to track somebody, you should cover all devices: PCs, laptops, tablets, and especially smartphones.
You do not need to use several apps on the same device — they would have problems, and it would be easier to catch them. However, you can use several apps to track different devices. The ideal combination is to download a Linux keylogger for the Linux device, download Refog for Windows or MAC, and install Hoverwatch on the target smartphone. This is how you can cover all devices and get all keystrokes.
Our list of the best Linux keyloggers for 2019 is not complete. You can add your options and share your opinion with us. Which application is the best?