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If you own an HP laptop or tablet you may have had every single thing you’ve typed on it logged and stored on your hard drive. This is because, according to a report by security researchers, a keylogger has inadvertently been installed on a number of HP devices. And it’s still there now.
Keystroke logging is a generally nefarious activity whereby someone monitors everything being typed onto a keyboard. Keyloggers can be hardware- or software-based, and are difficult to detect. Which is why it’s so unsettling to discover that one is installed on a number of HP devices.
Logging Your Every Keystroke
According to Swiss security company Modzero, a range of different HP devices, including popular laptops and tablets, have a keylogger installed on them. The keylogger allegedly found its way onto these devices by way of an audio driver update issued by Conexant at the end of 2015.
The driver update introduced an executable file allowing the driver to respond when a user presses special keys. The problem is the executable file captures every single keystroke, and stores them in a log file on your hard drive. A log file stored in plain text, no less.
The good news is that this log file is deleted every time you reboot your computer. The bad news is a) it’s there to begin with, b) the data could be preserved in backups, and c) someone with the proper training and tools could restore the data long after it gets deleted.
If you own an HP laptop you should check whether it has MicTray.exe or MicTray64.exe installed on it. If it does, Modzero recommends you either delete or rename the file to stop it from logging any more keystrokes. Unfortunately this will also stop the special keys functionality from working.
HP Promises to Fix Things
HP is aware of this issue and promising to fix it as soon as possible. However, this will be of scant comfort to anyone affected by this, as they’re now stuck with a hard drive potentially stuffed with historic keystroke-logs. Conexant has yet to issue a statement.
Do you own one of the HP devices thought to be affected? If so, are you worried about the situation? Or is this being blown out of proportion? Are you going to stop using the device until HP fixes the problem? Or is that overkill? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Christoph Scholz via Flickr