Virtual Keyboard and Online Safety
Nowadays, internet is increasingly being used for financial transactions. Online safety is now more important than ever before. Losing an Internet banking password may cost you a lot of money. To counter such risks, banks and other financial institutions have taken a lot of steps. For instance, most banks send an OTP to your mobile phone to complete an online transaction.
Virtual Keyboard for Typing Passwords
But one step that remains largely ignored is the use of virtual keyboards. Almost all high-risk websites offer a virtual keyboard on the login page. But very few people actually use it. These virtual keyboards offer protection against key-loggers (programs that record keystrokes). Even if you don’t use them at your home, you must use it if you are accessing such websites from a public computer.
The real question, however, is, ‘what to do if there is no virtual keyboard provided on the login page?’ The answer lies with browser extensions. Almost all browsers now support extensions. I checked and found a virtual keyboard extensions for each of Opera, Firefox and Chrome.
The extension for Opera is named, simply enough, Virtual Keyboard. This is a small 33KB extension that provides a virtual keyboard for use inside the browser. Once installed, it places a toolbar button for the virtual keyboard. Whenever you need the keyboard, select a text field and click on the toolbar button, the virtual keyboard will appear.
Since this keyboard is meant only for typing inside the browser, you will see that many keys are missing. For instance, all the function keys are missing and also the Ctrl key is not there.
For Firefox there are multiple extensions available. However, I found VKeyBoard to be the easiest to use. It places a toolbar button at the bottom of the browser. Click it to expand the virtual keyboard at the bottom of the screen.
Unlike Opera’s and Chrome’s extension, this virtual keyboard is not floating, that is, it remains fixed at the bottom of the screen and stretches across the breadth of the window.
Google Chrome also has multiple options. However, I would recommend the one developed by Google itself Virtual Keyboard (by Google). The reason for recommending this extension is that it is a multilingual keyboard. So you can not only use this to key in your passwords, you can also use this if you want to enter text in your native language.
A button is placed in the address bar that appears only when you can use the virtual keyboard. Click on the toolbar button to toggle the virtual keyboard.
To use multiple languages, you first need to select the languages that you want to be available. Open the virtual keyboard and click the tick mark. You will get a list of languages. Select the languages to be made available. Once you are done, you will see a toggle button on the keyboard, click on it to cycle through the available languages.
Side Note: Just in case anyone is wondering, I tried the extensions with a keylogger. The keystrokes are not recorded.
So, use virtual keyboards, be more secure! If you like this tip, share it with your friends