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WinMX World :: Forum  |  Discussion  |  WinMx World News  |  Samsung's denies 'secret spyware'

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Offline DaBees-Knees

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Samsung's denies 'secret spyware'
« on: March 31, 2011, 06:41:35 am »

Samsung has denied allegations it installed secret spyware software on its laptops that monitors and records users' activity - including their keystrokes - without their consent.

The publication to first report the allegations, Network World, said Samsung had been given a week to comment but had not responded at the time of publication.

Late this afternoon, Samsung Australia said the allegations were "not true". "Our findings indicate that the person mentioned in the article used a security program called VIPRE [antivirus software] that mistook a folder created by Microsoft Live Application for ... key logging software, during a virus scan."

Earlier today, Samsung spokesman Jason Redmond told PC World that the company was looking into the allegations. "We take these claims very, very seriously," he was reported as saying.

Samsung Australia, also earlier today, said it was investigating the issue "as a matter of urgency" but could not comment on a local level because the issue had originated outside of Australia.

"As soon as we have an update on the investigation, we will share this with you," the company said.

IT publication Network Wold reported that Mohamed Hassan, founder of NetSec Consulting Corp, a firm that specialises in information security consulting services, detected the software on a laptop he purchased from Samsung in February.

Security expert Chester Wisniewski, of security firm Sophos, said in a blog post that what Samsung had allegedly done was "astonishing".

"After the massive uproar that resulted when Sony installed rootkits on peoples computers when they listened to an audio CD, you would hope the world would realise this type of behaviour is totally unacceptable," he said.

When setting up the laptop (model R525), Mr Hassan decided to run a security program on it and run a full system scan before installing any of his own software, the report said. In doing so, it said he detected a secret program called "StarLogger" installed.

Typically known as spyware, the secret software installed on Mr Hassan's computer is described by one website as being able to record "every keystroke made on your computer on every window, even on password protected boxes". It goes on to say that the software is "completely undetectable and starts up whenever your computer starts up".

After analysing the laptop, Mr Hassan came to the conclusion that the spyware must have been installed by Samsung, and so he removed it and carried on using it normally, the report said. But after some issues with the video display, he returned it and bought another model which had better features (model R540).

After doing the same security software scan on that laptop, the report said Mr Hassan again found the same secret software installed. This time he thought something was suss, and so raised the issue with Samsung.

After denying the presence of the software on its laptops, Samsung allegedly changed its story and referred Mr Hassan to Microsoft since "all Samsung did was to manufacture the hardware".

But after the incident was escalated to a supervisor, Mr Hassan claims that they told him that they put the software on their laptops to "monitor the performance of the machine and to find out how it is being used".

Network World said it contacted three public relations officers at Samsung for comment and gave them a week to send back their comments. "No one from the company replied," it said.

Possibly just a scare, but Samsung need to urgently clear this up.  :gum:

WinMX World :: Forum  |  Discussion  |  WinMx World News  |  Samsung's denies 'secret spyware'

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