Samsung Australia, is not saying whether Samsung notebooks sold in Australia, are secretly recording users’ activity via the use of secretly installed software, however the same notebook that secret recording software was found on in the USA is being sold in Australia.
Phil Newton the head of IT at Samsung Australia has not returned our calls nor has Samsung Australia communications executives.
Mohamed Hassan, the founder of NetSec Consulting a firm that specialises in information security consulting services told US publication NetworkWorld that they had detected the secret software on a laptop he purchased from Samsung in the USA.
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The $799 R540 notebook is being sold in Australia by several retailers.
Chester Wisniewski a security expert was Sophos, said in his blog post that what Samsung had allegedly done was “astonishing”.
“After the massive uproar that resulted when Sony installed rootkits on people’s computers when they listened to an audio CD, you would hope the world would realise this type of behaviour is totally unacceptable,” he said.
NetworkWorld said that Mr Hassan, when setting up the notebook, decided to run a security program as well as a full system scan before installing any of his own software, the report said. In doing so, it said he detected a secret program called “StarLogger” installed.
3D2F.Com describes star StarLogger as a key strokes recorder utility used to capture, monitor, and record everything typed into a computer and is able to create screen captures regularly.
Shortly after buying the notebook Mr Hassan took the notebook back to his retailer because of problems with the video display. When he opened the new Samsung notebook and performed another security check he discovered the same secret software installed in a way that it would not be easy to find by an average user.
At first Samsung denied that StarLogger was being used on Samsung notebooks. Mr Hassan was referred to Microsoft since “all Samsung did was to manufacture the hardware”.
Network World said it contacted three public relations officers at Samsung for comment and gave them a week to send back their comments. “No one from the company replied,” it said.
In 2005, Sony BMG published CDs with copy protection and digital rights management software called Extended Copy Protection, created by software company First 4 Internet. The software included a music player but silently installed a rootkit which limited the user’s ability to access the CD.
Software engineer Mark Russinovich, who created the rootkit detection tool RootkitRevealer, discovered the rootkit on one of his computers. The ensuing scandal raised the public’s awareness of rootkits.
To cloak itself, the rootkit hid from the user any file starting with “$sys$”. Soon after Russinovich’s report, malware appeared which took advantage of that vulnerability of affected systems.