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Purpose of AlphaShift and Accenti Keyboard Hook



Q: The application I use to check for viruses, spyware and other malware warns that AlphaShift or Accenti is a "keyboard logger". What does this mean? What should I do?



A: If you saw such a warning message please report it to the developers of the anti-spyware application, and kindly send them a link to this page.

AlphaShift and Accenti (the Italian version of the software) are general purpose tools which process keyboard input in order to perform "as-you-type" macro replacements and error detection and correction. Accenti is especially popular among writers of Italian, as it is able to reliably process Italian accent and apostrophe errors.

In order to process the input text, the software registers itself with Windows as a keyboard hook. The software does not record or store any keyboard input data anywhere. It only processes the last few characters, which are required to operate on the input stream, e.g. for macro replacement and to correct errors.

Anti-spyware applications check for keyboard hooks because any software that monitors keystrokes has the potential to be malicious (e.g. a virus which logs keyboard input and then sends it somewhere). Because AlphaShift and Accenti do not fall under this category, it is desirable that the developers of anti-spyware application update their "signatures" so as to recognize AlphaShift and Accenti and not issue an inappropriate warning.

Identification of AlphaShift and Accenti is technically simple and false positives are easy to avoid, because:

  • All executable files (e.g. alphash.exe, etc.) are digitally signed with Microsoft Authenticode technology (no other entity would be able to create such signed code)
  • The signor is Cloanto Corporation, a Nevada, USA, company (it is not possible to have two companies with the same name in the same state)
  • A sample application is available for download (the software and its detection are easy to verify and test)

AlphaShift and Accenti use the same set of executable files. If you need to label the software for description purposes, an appropriate short name could be "Cloanto AlphaShift/Accenti".

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Article Information
Article ID:23-103
Products:AlphaShift, Accenti
Additional Keywords:webroot spy sweeper, keylogger, keystrokelogger
Last Update:2010-03-27
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