IDG News Service reports on the possibility that Samsung laptops were sold with keylogger software preinstalled. Such software records keystrokes and can be used to gather passwords and other private data:
Samsung Electronics is investigating allegations that some models of its R Series laptops contain keylogging software that could be used to record anything typed on the laptop computers.
Mohamed Hassan said he became aware of the issue last month, when he purchased a Samsung R525 at a Best Buy in Toronto. The laptop had keylogging software on it, which he deleted immediately. Two weeks later, Hassan decided he wanted a more powerful machine, so he returned the R525 and bought a new model — the R540, at a local FutureShop. To his surprise, the keylogger was there too, Hassan said in an interview Wednesday. […]
Hassan, an IT consultant based in Toronto, said that Samsung tech support told him: “We just put it there to find out how the computer is being used.”
Samsung spokesman Jason Redmond said that his company is looking into Hassan’s allegations. “We take these claims very, very seriously,” he said. He had not previously heard of the problem, or heard of de Willebois Consulting, the company that makes the StarLogger software that Hassan said he found on the laptop. “We have no understanding of a relationship with this company and we have no prior knowledge of this software being on our laptops,” he said.
De Willebois Consulting did not respond to messages seeking comment for this story. […]
Hassan’s allegations were published Wednesday in Network World. […] As with Sony BMG’s notorious rootkit software, discovered in 2005, if Samsung secretly installed keyloggers on customers’ computers, it could lead to civil lawsuits or charges that the company is violating state consumer protection laws. […]
Keyloggers are commonly used by hackers to steal sensitive information including usernames and passwords from hacked computers, but de Willebois’ website describes some legitimate uses for its software: monitoring children’s Internet activity or recovering text in the event of a computer crash, for example.