By Earnest Jones  |  11-30-2017   News
Photo credit: secnews24.com

It’s unfortunate that multiple HP clients from around the world are reporting that HP has started deploying "spyware" onto their laptops without their consent.

It turns out that the application, which is being branded as spyware, is actually a Windows Telemetry service deployed by HP, called "HP Touchpoint Analytics Client."

The application was first identified on November 15, several online forums have indicated that the telemetry software was pushed out in a recent update. HP clients are complaining that the product was running in the background without their permission.

It remains unclear as to whether the software has come with the latest Microsoft's Windows updates, or via HP's support assistant processes.

According to an official description of the software, the program "harvests telemetry information that is used by HP Touchpoint's analytical services.

Unfortunately, HP Touchpoint makes your computer slow. HP customers have complained that the installation slowed down their system significantly. Another user reported that due to more than 95 percent CPU usage by the analytics service, his system anti-malware software started checking for suspicious activity.

The other case was from a user who complained about Reddit saying that:

"So today all of a sudden, I'm experiencing a considerable slowdown in my laptop (Pavilion P3V59PA). Once I look for the problem in Task Manager, I found out that the program called HP Touchpoint Analytics Client (and it's subsequent follow up) constantly jumping the memory usage (~300Mb at a minimum, ~nearly 2Mb at maximum)."

"I don't remember ever installing this program whatsoever, and in control panel, I found that for some reason this program was silently installed today, without my consent."

German blog reader Detlef Krentz contacted borncity this weekend and wrote:

"I noticed that HP secretly installed the program 'HP Touchpoint Analytics Client' on all my HP devices on November 20, 2017. The program connects every day to HP. The files sent can be found under 'Program Data/HP/HP Touchpoint Analytics Client/Transfer Interface.'"

It seems that the program sends data to the company's server once per day. If you own an HP PC or laptop, you can find this data under ProgramData\HP\HP Touchpoint Analytics Client\Transfer Interface on the Windows drive.

HP responded to the allegations saying that the company has been shipping the same software on HP laptops since 2014 as part of its Support Assistant software and that it only collects anonymous information about the computer's hardware performance.

However, the only thing that the company has changed is the name.

"HP Touchpoint Analytics is a service we have offered since 2014 as part of HP Support Assistant. It anonymously collects diagnostic information about hardware performance. No data is shared with HP unless access is expressly granted. Customers can opt-out or uninstall the service at any time," HP said in a statement.

"HP Touchpoint Analytics was recently updated, and there were no changes to privacy settings as part of this update. We take customer privacy very seriously and act in accordance with a strict policy, available here."

If you intend to remove HP Touchpoint Analytics Client, here’s how to do it:

For users who don't want this application to send data from their computer to HP's servers, they can disable the service or uninstall the program completely, which is relatively quickly and easily.

Head to Control Panel uninstall this program and right-click on the program name, and select Uninstall to remove it.

Else, you can just press Windows+R, type "appwiz.cpl," and press Enter to load the Programs and Features control panel applet. Now, select "HP Touchpoint Analytics Client" from the list and click the "Uninstall/Change" to remove the service from your PC.

This comes despite HP being caught a few months ago using a built-in keylogger that silently spied on all keystrokes, and stored every single key-press in a human-readable file located at the public folder, the data could be accessible to any user or 3rd party app installed on the computer.

Source: https://thehackernews.com/2017/11/hp-computers-telemetry-data.html

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