Keylogger Found Pre-Installed In Hundreds Of HP Laptops

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The keylogger was originally installed with touchpad drivers to help debug errors, but could lead to a ‘loss of confidentiality’

HP has acknowledged that software capable of recording a user’s keystrokes was pre-installed on hundreds of models of its laptops.

The keylogger software was originally installed with the driver for a model of touchpad made by Synaptics in order to help diagnose technical problems.

It is disabled by default, but HP admitted it was a “potential security vulnerability” that could lead to “loss of confidentiality“.

The company said a user would require administrative privileges in order to activate the keylogger.HSBC, security

No data access

“Neither Synaptics nor HP has access to customer data as a result of this issue,” HP said in a security bulletin.

The company issued a software update removing the keylogger, which is available from HP or through Windows Update.

Such software can have legitimate purposes, but is more often associated with attackers seeking to record sensitive information such as logins and passwords.

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The issue was discovered by security researcher Michael Myng while working on a way to control the keyboard backlight for an HP laptop.

HP said more than 460 laptop models were affected, including the EliteBook, ProBook, Pavilion and Envy ranges, dating back to 2012.

In May a keylogger was found to have been installed with audio drivers pre-installed on a number of HP laptop makes, and to have been recording users’ keystrokes since at least December 2015.

HP said at the time the code had been inserted into the software by mistake.

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