Feature in many HP laptops records users keystrokes

HP Elitebook 1030

Many HP laptops come with a feature similar to a keylogger, which secretly records everything that the user is doing.

It's rare that a keylogger is implemented for non-malicious use but that appears to be the case here; pure negligence on the part of the developer.

"Users are not aware that every keystroke made while entering sensitive information - such as passphrases (or) passwords on local or remote systems - are captured by (the software)", the security advisory continued.

The driver, developed by audio chip maker Conextant, is loaded on more than two dozen models of HP laptops and tablets, including the HP Elitebook, ProBook and ZBook models. The fixed audio driver should also be up very soon. This is basically where every typing activity by users is recorded and stored in an unsecured file on the computer.

All users of HP computers should check whether the program C:\Windows\System32\MicTray64.exe or C:\Windows\System32\MicTray.exe is installed. Unfortunately, it also writes out all keystroke data into a publicly accessible file located at C:\Users\Public\MicTray.log.




Even though the file is overwritten at start-up after each login, there are ways to retrieve past versions if, for instance, you have regular backups of your HP device.

HP issued a security update "for some of the affected models" yesterday, says the Daily Telegraph. However, this may cause the special keys of the HP laptop to stop functioning. This issue leads to a high risk of leaking sensitive user input to any person or process that is able to read files in C:\Users\Public\MicTray.log or call MapViewOfFile ().

Since HP Enterprise refused to take any responsibility, nor did Conexant respond to the inquiries made by Modzero, the cybersecurity firm chose to go ahead and disclose the findings to the public in accordance with their Responsible Disclosure process. The log file is erased each time you log out of your PC, but it still presents a massive problem if things like passwords are recorded and the log file is inadvertently backed up.

"HP has no access to customer data as a result of this issue".

Modzero said the developer of the audio driver is a USA company called Conexant, which produces audio and voice related applications. However, the number of consumers affected by the issue remains unknown.

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