HP's second laptop keylogger in less than a year

Keylogger uncovered on hundreds of HP PCs

The discovery comes just seven months after a similar keylogger was found inside HP's preinstalled audio drivers.

HP has issued security patches for more than 460 models of the company's laptops and thin clients to address a hidden keylogger present in the Synaptics touchpad drivers.

According to the Michael Myng, the security researcher who found the keylogger, the logging capability was disabled by default, however an attacker could enable it by changing a value in a relevant section in Windows Registry.

Writing under the handle "ZwClose", Myng said he discovered the keylogger after an associate asked whether he could find a way to control the keyboard backlighting on an HP laptop. While investigating the contents of the driver, Myng noticed "a few interesting strings" that pointed to the existence of a keylogger.

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Should the dormant keylogger software be activated, it could record all everything type on the keyboard of the laptop.

That problem, like the one reported by Myng, was blamed on debugging code that had been inadvertently left by developers. The company responded "terrifically fast", acknowledging the presence of the keylogger and releasing an update that removes it from end user machines.

Thankfully, HP has recently issued an emergency security patch to fix this issue. Alongside the announcement, HP released driver updates to eradicate the software on affected laptops. The company provided a list of models affected. You should also be able to install it automatically via the HP Support Assistant app on your device. Affected models include EliteBook, ProBook, Envy, Spectre, and many more. "Neither Synaptics nor HP has access to customer data as a result of this issue", HP stated in a security bulletin.

"At this point I had to run some ETW capture software like MessageAnalyzer to read the trace, but I couldn't do that since I didn't have HP laptop", said the researcher.

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