Monday in CE: Keyloggers Pre-Installed in HP Laptops, Google Home Gets Less Creepy Features
In the latest war on cybersecurity, HP laptops dating back to 2012 have not only been found with keyloggers they may have been pre-installed. Security researcher Michael Myng found the keylogger and HP confirmed that more than 460 models were affected by the "potential security vulnerability".
In layman's terms, a keylogger records every keystroke - and possibly mouse click or even which window it is even being inputted in - and sends that full length of actions to the attacker. It is nearly invisible because it operates in the background and, in this case, came pre-installed. The keylogger was packaged alongside a Synaptics driver, typically uses to control the touchpad.
Myng notes that the keylogger is disabled by default, but can be activated pretty effortlessly. According to HP, it was originally built into the Synaptics software to help debug errors. It acknowledged that could lead to "loss of confidentiality" but it said neither Synaptics nor HP had access to customer data as a result of the flaw.
In May, a similar keylogger was discovered in the audio drivers pre-installed on several HP laptop models.
At the time, the company said the keylogger code had been mistakenly added to the software.
HP has sent out a security bulletin with a way to resolve the issue but there is no telling how much damage has been done. In a statement, the company said: "HP uses Synaptics' touchpads in some of its mobile PCs and has worked with Synaptics to provide fixes to their error for impacted HP systems, available via the security bulletin on HP.com."
Google Home Gets Features Back, Now With Less Creepy Functions
Google Home Mini had a very... interesting function when it was first released. Essentially, it was listening. Always. Even when it was 'off', it was listening.
Google did the right thing, with gentle pressure from consumers, to turn off the play and pause buttons that were keeping the microphone on. The new update allows users to use the physical buttons again, a long press instead of a tap to start and stop the music, but Google is assuring people that there is no more mysterious recording going on.
It’s a simple and helpful fix to a kind of embarrassing problem — the fact that the Home Mini’s top button, on some units, could be accidentally triggered by the fabric. Originally, that button was going to be used for controlling playback and for letting people manually trigger the Assistant. But after Android Police noticed their unit recording nonstop, Google pulled the feature before the product could even ship.
This update suggests that Google couldn’t get around the fabric issue since it’s using the side buttons instead of bringing the play/pause feature back to the top button. And while a long press isn’t quite as convenient as tapping the top surface of the Mini, it’s a handy addition that’s easy enough to remember and use.
The best of the rest around the net:
- Trying my best to not beat a dead horse, the news of another bug in iOS 11 seems to do all the work for me. The newest glitch allows users to permanently delete the anticipated Apple Pay, unable to reinstall it.
- The OnePlus 5T is seeing more troubles after a DRM limitation means the flagship smartphone can't play Netflix or Amazon Prime in HD. It's a rough time to be the underdog.
- Waiting for Oreo on your Android SmartWatch? Google finally released a rather long list of compatible devices for the new mobile OS.