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Keylogging software pre-installed on brand new laptops!! Security

#1 User is offline James (Jim) Hillier

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    Posted 31 March 2011 - 02:05 AM

    Here's a new one; how about keylogging software installed on brand new laptops, straight from the factory.......BY THE MANUFACTURER!!

    The "StarLogger" software was discovered by Mohamed Hassan, founder of NetSec Consulting, after he scanned 2 brand new Samsung laptops [model numbers R525 and 540].

    StarLogger auto starts with Windows and records all keystrokes made on the computer. It can be difficult to detect, and can be set to periodically and surreptitiously send e-mails containing information gleaned from the computer to a preset e-mail address, with screen capture images attached.

    When Hassan first contacted Samsung to report this intrusion they referred him to Microsoft, saying all they did was manufacture the hardware. However, a senior supervisor at Samsung finally admitted that they had indeed installed the software on the laptops in order to monitor machine performance "and to find out how it is being used."

    In other words, Samsung wanted to gather usage data without obtaining consent from laptop owners.

    Good grief!!

    Sounds as though users should be adding one more essential security step to the conventional strategy.....i.e. thoroughly scan any brand new machine as soon as possible!!

    Or do you do that already??
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    #2 User is offline marko

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      Posted 31 March 2011 - 08:17 AM

      And I wonder what punishment Samsung will receive for this? My guess is probably nothing!.

      I remember years ago, a friend had a problem with their computer, few bugs, etc, and I decided the best way to deal with it was a complete restore from their restore disks, once completed I loaded antivirus software on the machine and straight away it found a virus - I scanned the restore disk myself and found a couple of nasty viruses sitting on that!. Makes you wonder who's responsible these days :blink:
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      #3 User is offline James (Jim) Hillier

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        Posted 31 March 2011 - 08:03 PM

        UPDATE: This report has proved to be incorrect!!

        It seems Samsung are in the clear and this has turned out to be the result of a false positive reported by 'Vipre' AV software. I find it unbelievable (and incredibly naive) that Mohamed Hassan did not bother to double check and confirm Vipre's findings [via other security products] before actually reporting the incident on the net. I assume he will be feeling suitably embarrassed.

        It is an interesting concept though. I wonder how many manufacturers have actually considered it but then decided not to go ahead simply because of the potential to damage their reputation.

        I also think it reflects badly on manufacturers public image [in general] that a report such as this could be so readily accepted as believable.....the "I wouldn't put it past them" syndrome?

        Or maybe I am more cynical than the average. :)
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        #4 User is offline marko

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          Posted 01 April 2011 - 07:18 AM

          Tis a bit surprising, as you say Jim, that a story like that is released without verification :unsure:

          As for the potential, well personally I wouldn't put anything past any one of those companies, if there was the potential to make money from it I believe they would implement it as long as they knew they wouldn't be caught. Remember, not that long ago a printer manufacturer was caught purposely fixing inkjet cartridges to tell the printer they were low on ink way before they actually were so people would buy them before they needed them - probably just the tip of the iceberg if we're honest but obviously in this case with Samgsung, it's proved to be wrong ;)
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          #5 User is offline James (Jim) Hillier

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            Posted 01 April 2011 - 11:32 AM

            Agree wholeheartedly Marko. I think the only thing that helps keep 'em honest at times is the fear that they might just break the 11th commandment........thou shall not get caught!!
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