Samsung spyware a false alarm
A story in Network World said Samsung shipped spyware with its laptops, but that turned out to be a false alarm. Reuters

Reports of keylogging software installed on Samsung-built laptops are wrong, the company says, but a case where anti-virus software picked up a harmless foreign language folder.

Mohamed Hassan, a consultant at NetSec Consulting Corp., in Canada, wrote a story for Network World that said he found that two different Samsung computers he bought -- models R525 and R540 -- with software that logs every keystroke a user makes, even those in password-protected boxes.

On its Korean-language blog, Samsung Tomorrow, the company says the software Hassan used to scan his computer, VIPRE, mistook a Microsoft Live foreign-language support folder for a keylogger called StarLogger.

The folder was C:WindowsSL. Samsung says the SL is for Slovene. Samsung provided a screenshot of VIPRE picking up the folder as keylogging software.

Hassan, meanwhile, says he called Samsung about it, and Samsung's technical support department initially denied that it had installed that kind of software. After a conversation with a tech support supervisor, Hassan wrote that the company admitted it had installed such a program in order to monitor how its computers are used.

A Samsung spokesperson said he is looking into how a Samsung representative could have told Hassan what he did. Hassan, meanwhile, also said he is investigating how he made the mistake.

De Willebois Consulting, which makes the StarLogger software, did not respond to an email. Alex Eckelberry, general manager of GFI Security, which makes the VIPRE software, said the problem was that Windows never used a directory called SL before, and it is only with the Slovenian language folder for Windows Live that it appears. The problem, he added, has been fixed.