Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Samsung laptops with spyware pre-installed

What is this? Reports say that new Samsung laptops come with a commercial keylogger already installed. And these news are spreading like wildfire.

A Samsung R540

Mohamed Hassan purchased a new Samsung R525 at a BestBuy in Toronto, and found that there was some keylogging software on it. He deleted it immediately. Later, he decided that he wanted a more powerful computer. Returning the old one, he purchased a Samsung R540 at a FutureShop. The keylogger was there again, spying on him.
Specifically, the keylogger was called StarLogger, which is a commercial piece of software. It records all the keystrokes made on a computer, even in password fields. And as StarLogger's website says:
"StarLogger can email its results at specified intervals to any email address undetected so you don't even have to be at the computer your are monitoring to get the information. The screen capture images can also be attached automatically to the emails."
Because Hassan purchased two completely different models from two different shops, he believed that the culprit had to be the manufacturer. But, unsurprisingly, Samsung Support denied the presence of any kind of spyware on their new computers. However, they put the blame on Microsoft, saying that "all Samsung did was to manufacture the hardware".

But when the matter went on to a support supervisor, he confirmed that Samsung did put the software on the new laptops, just to "monitor the performance of the machine and to find out how it is being used". Samsung was simply monitoring its customers' moves without their consent.

What happens later, we will find out soon. Mohamed Hassan has written all his allegations in a post on Network World.