Modzero has put up a shocking news that should be a point of worry for several HP laptop users. According to the website, Hewlett-Packard has included a built-in keylogger embedded into the audio drivers package of the software. Having a keylogger is a major security risk for the users and thus, it is important to check if your laptop has that particular file and read on to see what you need to do if your HP laptop has it.
According to Modzero, this is not a deliberate attempt for any malicious purposes, but HP might have included it to log and check if any special key is pressed or released and that in turn will help perform some tasks such as turning the microphone on or off, or controlling the recording LED on a computer.
Instead, however, the developer has introduced a number of diagnostic and debugging features to ensure that all keystrokes are either broadcasted through a debugging interface or written to a log file in a public directory on the hard-drive.
The debugging interface would rather turn the audio driver into a keylogger. On the basis of meta-information of the files, this keylogger has already existed on HP computers since at least Christmas 2015, when there was an update rolled out to the laptops.
The blog post also reads: “Version 188.8.131.52 of this program was later extended by even more problematic functions: The most recent version 184.108.40.206 implements the logging of all keystrokes into the publicly for any user readable file C:\Users\Public\MicTray.log. Although the file is overwritten after each login, the content is likely to be easily monitored by running processes or forensic tools. If you regularly make incremental backups of your hard-drive – whether in the cloud or on an external hard-drive – a history of all keystrokes of the last few years could probably be found in your backups.”
According to the security advisor, these are the models that are at risk.
- HP EliteBook 820 G3 Notebook PC
- HP EliteBook 828 G3 Notebook PC
- HP EliteBook 840 G3 Notebook PC
- HP EliteBook 848 G3 Notebook PC
- HP EliteBook 850 G3 Notebook PC
- HP ProBook 640 G2 Notebook PC
- HP ProBook 650 G2 Notebook PC
- HP ProBook 645 G2 Notebook PC
- HP ProBook 655 G2 Notebook PC
- HP ProBook 450 G3 Notebook PC
- HP ProBook 430 G3 Notebook PC
- HP ProBook 440 G3 Notebook PC
- HP ProBook 446 G3 Notebook PC
- HP ProBook 470 G3 Notebook PC
- HP ProBook 455 G3 Notebook PC
- HP EliteBook 725 G3 Notebook PC
- HP EliteBook 745 G3 Notebook PC
- HP EliteBook 755 G3 Notebook PC
- HP EliteBook 1030 G1 Notebook PC
- HP ZBook 15u G3 Mobile Workstation
- HP Elite x2 1012 G1 Tablet
- HP Elite x2 1012 G1 with Travel Keyboard
- HP Elite x2 1012 G1 Advanced Keyboard
- HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3 Notebook PC
- HP ZBook 17 G3 Mobile Workstation
- HP ZBook 15 G3 Mobile Workstation
- HP ZBook Studio G3 Mobile Workstation
- HP EliteBook Folio G1 Notebook PC
But then, be it any model, you should give it a check and see if you are not having a big security hole in your laptop.
How to check for the keylogger in your HP laptop
In your laptop, check for C:\Windows\System32\MicTray64.exe or C:\Windows\System32\MicTray.exe. If one of these is present, you should probably delete or rename the file so that no more keystrokes are recorded.
Apart from this, also check for C:\Users\Public\MicTray.log on the hard drive and if it is present, delete that as well because it might contain sensitive information, including passwords as well.