Samsung Keylogger Software: VIPRE Mistaken as StarLogger


clifford_cooley

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Samsung caught selling new computers with a keylogger
If you own a computer manufactured by Samsung, you should run a scan with your preferred antivirus software immediately. According to a two-part report published by Network World, researcher Mohamed Hassan discovered that the company's 15.6-inch R525 and R540 notebooks ship with a commercial keylogger.

Called StarLogger, the software launches with Windows and runs in the background, making it tricky to detect without some form of antimalware program. StarLogger can record every keystroke made on the system and it's also capable of taking screenshots. That data is emailed to an address specified by the installer (i.e. Samsung).

After initially denying the claims, Samsung admitted to installing StarLogger on new computers to gather customer usage data -- without consent, mind you. It's unclear exactly what data StarLogger is collecting, but a Samsung supervisor said it's used to "monitor the performance of the machine and to find out how it is being used."

Besides that tidbit, the company has been incredibly quiet about the matter. Network World contacted three Samsung public relations offers for a comment, but none of them replied after a week. Likewise, other publications have sought a response from Samsung, but the company appears to be ignoring emails and phone calls.

In 2005, Sony BMG Music Entertainment sold music CDs with a copy protection scheme that installed rootkit software on computers. Customers were furious when they found out and quickly filed a class-action suit forcing Sony to recall 4.7 million CDs and pay $575 million in damages -- undoubtedly more than it gained by using the DRM.
I wasn't exactly a Samsung fan but was looking in their direction. Samsung you can kiss it, this little exercise has steered me in other directions. I will not be buying any of Samsungs products, they need to know this behavior is not tolerated.
 
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Ian

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Ouch... that is going to cause some serious damage if true! :eek:

I'm very interested to see how this develops! If anyone spots an update to this, please do post it in the thread :).
 

clifford_cooley

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Samsung Keylogger Software: VIPRE Mistaken as StarLogger
The recent reports about Samsung Keylogger software have certainly got the online community talking, and it did not take long for the Korean consumer electronics company to come out and defend itself and its R Series range of laptops. However, things are not what they seem, and it looks as though there is proof that this was just a false positive.

Samsung along with a number of others have run some tests and found that a security program called VIPRE managed to mistake a Live Application from Microsoft as a “SL” folder, as StarLogger during a virus scan of the system.

This is not the first and will not be the last time that a false positive has caused an issue, and in some cases can be just as serious as a real virus. It does not take long for news to spread of such a thing, and even though it is an error, can have a huge affect on companies – such as Samsung in this case.

Thankfully it has not taken long to get to the route of this issue, but there were those out there who assumed the worst and thought that Samsung were up to no good – which if you read the article from ZDNET you know that it was untrue.
I seems I must retract the statement in my first post. I owe Samsung a huge apology. Even though the accusation has been labeled as a false positive, manufacturers still need to know this behavior will not be excepted.
 
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Ian

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Thanks for the update Clifford! I thought it would be strange for them to ship key loggers with systems, although it wouldn't surprise me for companies to send back usage data (like a printer manufacturer did a few years back, I think it may have been Lexmark).
 

Nibiru2012

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Ha! Software and it's varied issues simply amazes me. This also is another typical example of an overzealous stupid ass wannabe "journalist" trying to get the jump with a story and then not verifying the source info!

I'll bet Edward R. Murrow is laughing at this one from the other side.
 

draceena

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If it's all a mistake, then why did they say:

After initially denying the claims, Samsung admitted to installing StarLogger on new computers to gather customer usage data -- without consent, mind you. It's unclear exactly what data StarLogger is collecting, but a Samsung supervisor said it's used to "monitor the performance of the machine and to find out how it is being used."
 
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catilley1092

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Yeah, kinda like when you sign up for Windows Live services, you're offered the option to allow MS to collect info about how the software is used. But at least it's voluntary. When printers are installed, this option is offered, too.

I can't understand why Samsung would even resort to this type of thing, they make quality products, why would they resort to placing what amounts to spyware on the computer? Regardless of what their employees says, some personal info could be collected, even if it weren't intentional.

The way that I see it, it's none of their business as to how I use it, as long as I paid for it.

But that's me..........

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If it's all a mistake, then why did they say:
That came from someone in their tech support department, as I recall. Helpdesk people, even the supervisors at large companies are often clueless. Here he's being told that they're shipping computers that have SL on them, what's he to say?
 

catilley1092

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So much for Vipre's reputation for a while. Last year, it as McAfee that caused a stir, as to their recovery from it, I don't know.

However, Vipre is doing a lot of ads lately, mainly towards business customers. This won't help them get into the select group of AV Comparatives a bit. There was one member here who pushed Vipre, but haven't seen him in a while.

Cat
 
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That's one of the reasons my family will NEVER buy Samsung products at all. It started with the cell phone support service, then now this? No more Samsung TVs, refrigerators, stove tops, etc.
 
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Nibiru2012

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linux731 - apparently you did not read all the posts, this is NOT true.

Samsung makes the best spinner HDD anywhere, period!
 

bassfisher6522

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Well in June of this year, I bought a Samsung laptop and I didn't see any such software installed. Then again the first thing I do when I get a retail pc is uninstall all bloat ware, then I install my AV and update and run it then install and run malware software.
 
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@Bassfish. You should be careful in what you uninstall. I personally leave everything on there, because I would hate for something to stop working. The only think I uninstall after a new computer purchase or a system factory reset is the 60 days license of Norton/McAfee.
 

clifford_cooley

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I'm with bassfisher, everything that I will never use is un-installed. Better to remove software in the beginning, that way you don't risk breaking a shared resource when trying to remove later.
 
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TrainableMan

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I bought an HTPC and it took over an hour for 22 Acer items to be installed. It probably took me almost as long to remove all of it but Nero and one other program.

Companies pay these manufacturers to push trial copies of software such as McAfee and Wild Tangent Games onto our computers.

Linux, yes it is important to make sure you don't uninstall something needed but you are wasting harddrive space and cluttering your registry with unused programs and trial BS.
 

Nibiru2012

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I''m with BassFisher and C_C too! Get rid of the bloatware as soon as possible. All it does is waste HDD space and chew up resources such as RAM unnecessarily.
 

yodap

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I'm with Bass and the others.

Wifey and I bought a Dell Laptop from a warehouse store a couple of months ago. (our first ever laptop).

Day 1: got rid of everything that I recognized.
Day 2 :got rid of everything else after researching it.
The only thing I kept was the webcam stuff, and we still haven't used that.
 
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Mychael

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Can you even buy a bare bones laptop anymore? One with nothing on it at all not even an O/S.
 

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