NEWS FROM THE LAB - Thursday, March 31, 2011

No Keyloggers on Samsung Laptops as Far as We Know Posted by Mikko @ 10:45 GMT

Network World has published an article claiming that Samsung Electronics installs Windows keyloggers on their laptops by default. This caused an uproar, as even Samsung support appeared to confirm this, saying that the commercial StarLogger keylogger is installed by default to "monitor the performance of the machine and to find out how it is being used".

All this is a bit hard to believe. F-Secure Anti-Virus detects StarLogger (as "Trojan.Generic.5223315"). So do many other antivirus vendors. We have not seen any kind of peak of StarLogger reports.

There is a statement on samsungtomorrow.com denying these allegations. However, this site does not seem to be an official Samsung site.

So, what to do? Well, we went to a local IT store and checked some Samsung laptops ourselves.

Samsung Laptops

No, we did not find StarLogger, or any other keyloggers from the laptops we tested. These included Samsung models R540, RF710, QX310, SF510, X125, and NF310. They were all running different versions of Windows 7. Note that the list includes the Samsung R540, which was one of the laptop models mentioned in the original Network World report.

In summary, until proven otherwise, we don't believe Samsung has been installing keyloggers on their laptops by default.

We'd like to thank Eero J´┐Żrvilehto at Verkkokauppa.com his for help.

P.S. Some people might find similarities between this case and the Sony Rootkit Saga. However, while Sony BMG was guilty, we're betting that Samsung is innocent.

Updated to add: Samsung is now confirmed to be innocent. See the details here.