Last updated: March 31, 2011 1:34 pm

Samsung rejects spyware claims

Samsung Electronics on Thursday rejected a security professional’s allegation that it installed software capable of recording user activities on some models of its notebook computers.

A technology researcher, Mohamed Hassan of NetSec Consulting in Toronto, had written in a technology trade publication on Wednesday that he had bought a new Samsung computer for his own use and discovered it contained a software called StarLogger after scanning it with a commercial security program.

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StarLogger, according to people who sell it, can record all keystrokes and take screenshots of what appears on the display, and can be instructed to send the data to designated email addresses.

The claim that such a piece of software might have been installed in laptops without the owners’ knowledge caused widespread concern, judging by the reaction on technology blogs and online message boards.

However, Samsung said the program was not installed in its computers and Mr Hassan might have confused the Slovakian language support folder which comes with the Windows operating system, labelled “SL”, with StarLogger.

“The security program mentioned by the researcher was found to be Vipre, an independent anti-virus software,” the South Korean company said in a statement. “He appears to have mistaken the SL folder, one of the folders created by Microsoft's Live Application to support multi-languages, as StarLogger.”

It added that the company was still looking into whether it was Microsoft’s Live Application program or the Vipre software that caused the confusion.

Mr Hassan had contacted the company’s technical support staff and a supervisor told him that a “keylogging” software had been installed to “monitor the performance of the machine and to find out how it is being used”, he said in a newsletter published online by NetworkWorld.

But Nam Ki-young, a Samsung spokesman in Seoul, said on Thursday its technical support staff did not know what the exact problem was and that the supervisor’s comments were made before the company investigated the problem.

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