A driver caught preinstalled on several HP laptops Thursday and was found recording passwords and internet browsing habits in an unencrypted file on the laptop’s hard drive.
Swiss cyber security specialist ModZero found an audio driver with a key-loggers-type feature on several HP laptops installed secretly in an attempt to record passwords and internet browsing habits in an unencrypted file on the laptop’s hard drive, according to the warning issued by ModZero.
How the device store data
The driver which is developed by Conextant, a major audio chip maker, is founded secretly installed on tens models of HP laptops and tablets, such as the HP Elitebook, ProBook and ZBook models.
The driver in question is designed to potentially store keystroke data, including records of passwords, internet browsing history and private chat messages. Anyone who has access to the audio driver would have access to the information and keystroke recorded.
The driver also controls audio hardware whenever users press certain keys. Moreover, the software features a type of debugging, to send all keystrokes through a debugging device or saves them in a public directory file on the hard drive.
“This type of debugging turns the audio driver effectively into keylogging spyware,” ModZero researchers wrote. “On the basis of meta-information of the files, this keylogger has already existed on HP computers since at least Christmas 2015.”
HP responds and offers a solution
On the other hand, an HP company spokesperson said HP acknowledged the problem; however, it could not access the customers’ devices, passwords or other information recorded by the drive.
Furthermore, HP vice-president Mike Nash also said that the drivers installed in the laptops were never meant to be part of the devices distributed in the market.
“Our supplier partner developed software to test audio functionality prior to product launch and it should not have been included in the final shipped version,” HP said in a statement, adding that fixes are available via HP.com.
HP was quick to solve the problem as the company releases a patch that deletes the key logger and all the information stored on the driver, according to ZDNet.