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HP, Synaptics, and keyloggers in new laptops

19 December 2017

The Western press regularly publishes news about keyloggers found in new laptops and desktop PC’s coming right off store shelves.

keyloggers notebooks

Sometimes, it can be attributed to the human factor (a personal initiative of a shop assistant) or an error, but sometimes, it does look like a real thing – for example, in the case of Samsung laptops.

A week ago, a researcher by the name of Michael Myng announced that he had found keylogging functionality in the Synaptics touchpad driver on new HP laptop models. This “vulnerability” affected over 460 HP laptops, including EliteBook, HP Pavilion, and ZBook.

A few days later, Synaptics completed its investigation of the issue and reported that the scale of the problem was largely exaggerated. The touchpad drivers did have a debugging mode that can intercept data from input devices and save them to a local log. It is used for driver configuration and troubleshooting. This mode is deactivated before a device is sent to the store.

To enable the mode, you need to change the value of a particular key in the system registry that is protected by UAC and accessible only to the user with admin rights.

To rule out the possibility of any allusions, HP has released a software update that permanently removes the debugging mode for this driver from the system.

According to US reports, military drones may be virus-infected

12 October 2017

As reports, in september security system has indentified a virus in drone control systems at a military base in Nevada.

A virus or a keylogger has infected the “Predator” and the “Reaper” drone control software.

Military representatives are not entirely sure whether it was an intentional hack or some random infection.

The behavior of the drones was not affected, so it is too soon to recall the plot of the game “Call of Duty: Black Ops II”.

Still, the military data may be compromised.

If you discover a virus on your home computer, do not beat yourself up. Even the most secure places in the world are not safe from them.

Track cell phone location with GPS and Wi-Fi

22 December 2015
Track cell phone location with GPS and Wi-Fi

Track cell phone location (GPS, Wi-Fi)

Hoverwatch is our new app that can be enabled for cell phone location tracking using GPS and Wi-Fi. This software collects information about a phone’s location data and transmitts the necessary data to where its use may be of significance.

Wi-Fi hotspot signals as well as GPS systems which are close to the target device can be used to collect information regarding the phone location, but GPS signals are usually considered the most accurate. The advantage of using signals received from Wi-Fi hotspots is that less battery power is used and the method is also highly reliable in instances when the user of the targeted device switches the GPS feature off.

Apart from the pinpoint tracking accuracy Hoverwatch offers many other advantages. As many as 5 devices can be tracked at one account and signing up for this service is simple.

Users create a free account online by entering their email and a password of their choice. After having done this, the next process will involve downloading and installing the phone tracker installer that is available from the Hoverwatch account.

From the online account all the recorded data as well as phone geolocation can all be monitored with ease.

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How do keyloggers work and how to use them?

25 July 2014

Keylogging. What is it?

The malicious programs that are used to record keystrokes are called keyloggers. Today they are utilized to steal any valuable information. Usually, it secret information that is tracked by the programs.

There are two main varieties of keyloggers. Hardware keylogger that is plugged between a keyboard and your computer and that is potentially detectable just by looking at the keyboard. And there is a software keylogger which is more difficult to detect.

Frankly speaking, keylogger software is more frequently used in comparison with any kind of keylogging hardware.


These malicious programs are usually used either to steal passwords, details of people’s credit cards or to simply monitor computer activity. It is not simple to detect them as they work secretly.

In most of the cases they are hidden from the persons they are targeting. You may not even suspect that your private data is known to other people.

There are a lot of antivirus programs that people use to identify and remove the malicious tools from their machines.

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Spying scandal in Germany

10 November 2011

Chaos Computer Club (CCC), a Germany-based hacker group, published a proof of the use of spyware by the government, which resulted in a serious scandal on the highest level.

The spyware mentioned in the publication was found on a laptop that belonged to a person who was suspected of illegal export of pharmaceuticals. The program was allegedly installed during a customs inspection at an airport.

This program captures the URL’s of visited websites and email communications and then sends the collected data to a remote server, presumably outside the country. Besides, it allows the operator to upload and launch any applications on a remote computer.

Joachim Hermann, the Minister of Interior of Bavaria, confirmed that state authorities in this land had been using spyware since 2009, but refused to provide specific examples. In his opinion, this practice in not in breach of any laws, although this issue is subject to further discussion. Authorities from three other lands (Baden-Württemberg, Brandenburg and Niedersachsen) also confirmed that they had been using similar software.

In response to the furious public reaction, some high-profile authorities were forced to provide comments on the situation.

Germany’s Minister of Justice, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, and Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded that a thorough investigation of the incident be conducted. The result of this investigation should be a mechanism aimed at protecting the citizens’ rights to privacy.

Therefore, Germany’s laws related to the use of spyware may change considerably in the nearest future.

Preinstalled keylogger on Samsung laptops

31 March 2011

StarLoggerMohamed Hassan, a graduate of Norwich University in Britain with a major in information security and the owner of NetSec Consulting, purchased a Samsung R525 laptop. After a full system scan with anti-spy and anti-virus software, he discovered a commercial keylogger called StarLogger in his С:\Windows\SL folder.

Mohamed analyzed the system and concluded that the keylogger had been installed by the laptop manufacturer.

He exchanged (for another reason) the laptop for a Samsung R540 from another store and found the same spyware preinstalled on it.

StarLogger (developed by Willebois Consulting, prices start from $23) is a commercial keylogger that logs key presses, creates screenshots and sends the collected data by email.

Mohamed contacted Samsung’s technical support service (inquiry #2101163379) and demanded an explanation. The reaction of the support staff gradually changed from complete denial and attempts to blame Microsoft as the supplier of the entire software package to finally admitting that the company intentionally installed such programs to “monitor the performance of customers’ computers and understand how they were used”.

It looks like Samsung collects data about the use of their computers without users’ consent. Don’t forget to check yours.

Three weeks after the incident, Jason Redmond (Manager, Marketing Communications at Samsung Electronics, Samsung) reported that an internal investigation had been started to deal with the situation.


New online service from Refog. Track any device online. Just install the free spy apps. And Information from your phones and computers will reflect in your online Hoverwatch account.

Virtual Keyboard from Google

28 May 2010

Google has added a virtual onscreen keyboard for typing in visitor’s mother tongue to the search and result pages of its search system. 35 languages are available with the exception of English and Chinese. Now there’s an icon next to the search box. When clicked it launches a virtual keyboard. With its help symbols are typed by mouse clicks on the desired letter on the screen.

About a year ago a program interface (API) was presented for free use of such a keyboard on third party web sites or in browser-based scripts.

Such a feature could be useful not only in case when you are forced to use a keyboard without necessary national layout (for example, while traveling), but also in case you fear a possible interception of data entered from the keyboard (such as when using public computers, Internet cafes, etc.).

Using the virtual keyboard will protect you not only from hardware keyloggers, but also from illegally installed primitive spy software.

From keylogger to monitoring

23 April 2010

The first programs intercepting keystrokes (keyloggers) appeared in the 90s. They were very primitive and complied with a single function – recording the sequence of keystrokes in the log file. Later, they were designed to periodically send this file to e-mail and safely hide themselves in the system (it was not so difficult in Windows 9x). By 2000, there were already more than 300 different keylogging programs.

By 2002, these programs begin to specialize. For example, there appears a paid program to keep track of one’s partners – Loverspy. It was much discussed in the press. In addition, the main purpose of such programs are not keystrokes now but the network user’s activity, mainly – e-mail correspondence.

By 2005, the number of different keylogging programs has already surpassed 6000. They are divided into two groups by the way of usage: some have become hacker tools or a part of viruses, and other – legitimate tools which are not a subject to civil or criminal penalties for its user. In other words, there were found legitimate ways for usage of spyware programs:

  • monitoring of children’s activity on the Internet as a way to protect them (parental control software);
  • monitoring of other users of owner’s computer (personal monitoring software);
  • monitoring of employees as a way to increase their productivity (employee monitoring software);
  • tracking by security agencies of typed critical phrases that are a trade secret;
  • lawful conducting of tests and investigations of incidents involving the use of personal computers;
  • carrying out researches related to the determination of accuracy, efficiency and adequacy of personnel’s reaction to external influences;
  • monitoring by users of their own actions in order to gather statistics and optimize their own workflow.

There appeared programs that protect users from illegal keyloggers and anti-spyware modules in anti-virus programs.

Hardware solutions have appeared in addition to software ones. These are small devices built into a keyboard, system unit, or between them, which can capture and store all the information typed on the keyboard. Such devices are difficult to detect and there is no need to even turn on the computer in order to install them.

Hardware keylogger

Later scientists’ researches have shown that even these devices are not necessary, as up to 96% of information typed from the keyboard can be restored with audio of sounds that keyboard is creating while typing.
With the growing popularity of social networks and programs for messaging in these networks, there appeared functions for tracking of such communication in today’s monitoring programs.

Nowadays, development trends of these programs are changing again. The Internet is becoming more mobile, and mobile devices – more functional. Modern phones are equipped with powerful processors, fast Internet connection and GPS-positioning detectors that makes them a target for tracking programs. For example, there already exist programs to protect your phone against theft, which periodically report to the owner its exact location.