Built-in keylogger found in HP laptops...again

Danny Woods
December 12, 2017

Recently, security researchers have diagnosed a specific keylogger in the HP laptops which is a piece of software and aims to transfer users' data to the centralized hubs.

The keylogger was found inside the driver of the Synaptics Touchpad, potentially affecting millions of users.

In a November 7 security update, HP provided links to software patches for more than 450 products, including multiple models of the HP Notebook, HP EliteBook, HP Mobile Thin Client, HP ProBook, HP Spectre Pro and HP ZBook Mobile Workstation. By default, the keylogger are turned off in the keyboard driver for hundreds of HP laptops. However, an attacker with access to an affected model could enable it to record a user's keystrokes. Discovered by security researcher Michael Myng while delving into the Synaptics Touchpad Software in an attempt to change the backlight behavior of the keyboard, the keylogger was reportedly built into the software stack to debug errors.

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Confirmed HP: "A party would need administrative privileges in order to take advantage of the vulnerability". It allowed the information typed on the machine's keyboard to be copied somewhere else using a WPP (Windows software trace preprocessor) trace operation, according to Myng. Downloading and installing the same would remove HP keylogger from your system. The company's bulletin also noted that "neither Synaptics nor HP has access to customer data as a result of this issue".

After contacting HP, Mr Myng discovered that the key logging software is available in a huge number of the company's most popular laptops, including models such as Elitebook, Envy, Pavilion and Probook, some of which go back to 2012. If you find your laptop on the list, just click the corresponding link alongside it to download the new driver.

Synaptics and HP did not immediately return requests for comment. Over the weekend HP revealed that almost 500 of its notebooks dating as far back as 2012 shipped with a secret keylogger installed.

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