Thursday, March 31, 2011

Check Your Samsung Laptop For Secret Keyloggers

samsung-logoNetwork World has reported that Samsung has been installing keyloggers in their laptops to monitor the performance of the machine and gather usage data without user consent. The explosive revelation that has the potential to damage Samsung’s reputation beyond repair came from one Mohamed Hassan who discovered keyloggers installed in two different Samsung laptops.

Mohamed Hassan had purchased a Samsung R525 laptop. Upon receipt, he ran a full system scan and found that it had a commercial keylogger called StarLogger installed. StarLogger records every keystroke made on the computer, even on password-protected boxes, starting up whenever the computer starts up. The software then emails the logged keystrokes including screen captures at intervals to a specified email address.

Hassan immediately sent for another laptop, Samsung R540, and found the same keylogger installed on that one.

"The fact that on both models the same files were found in the same location supported the suspicion that the hardware manufacturer, Samsung, must know about this software on its brand-new laptops," he writes.

Initially, Samsung Support personnel denied that they installed the software and directed him to Microsoft. But eventually a Samsung representative admitted that the company has been including the keylogger software to "monitor the performance of the machine and to find out how it is being used."

The keylogger was discovered on two Samsung models – R540 and R525. CNET reported that they examined another new Samsung laptop, the Samsung Series 9, and did not find a keylogger installed. But this does not eliminate other laptops and even the 9 series – yours may have one.

Samsung laptop owners are advised to probe their laptops for any hidden keyloggers. CNET has posted a detailed tutorial on how to detect and remove the StarLogger keylogger.

Meanwhile, Samsung in an effort to salvage their reputation, has launched an investigation into the matter collaborating with Mohamed Hassan and numerous other security experts. Samsung is also delivering randomly selected laptop purchased at a retail store to the researchers to investigate.

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