Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

A quick question: I use on-screen keyboard when entering my bank passwords, credit card numbers, etc., in an effort to guard against malware. Is this a good idea or am I wasting my time? Some internet banking website have an on-screen keyboard for entering in a password are these any more secure?

share|improve this question
up vote 12 down vote accepted

The built-in on-screen keyboard that comes with many operating systems is designed to help people who are unable to use a physical keyboard because of disabilities. Due to this, an on-screen keyboard behaves as much like a real keyboard as possible and it's activity will most likely be logged by a keylogger.

On-screen keyboards specifically designed for security (on a bank's website, for example) are a different story and are likely more secure against keyloggers.

share|improve this answer
Thank you, I had an inkling but I wasn't sure but “More important than the quest for certainty is the quest for clarity” – Matt 'Trouble' Esse Aug 27 '09 at 2:12

On-screen keyboards prevent a keyboard dongle from recording your keystrokes. There are other methods for recording keystrokes an on-screen keyboard will not prevent, though.

share|improve this answer
The bank ones that I've seen tend to move the keyboard button position around a bit on each login so the relative mouse position changes, making it hard to know what buttons a user clicked on. – Matthew Lock Dec 18 '09 at 5:40

Using an on-screen keyboard would make your password readable by people with no connection to your computer. :D

share|improve this answer

Note that an OSK is not secured against things that also track mouse movements, though figuring out what you clicked is much harder. I like to keep parts of my password in autohotkey hotstrings. (because "password" is so much easier to work out than "p66j#wokk#d")

share|improve this answer
If your OSK changes its layout every few characters--which is annoying, mouse movements become harder to track--now images of the screen have to be saved too. – Broam Dec 11 '09 at 16:40

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.