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HP Privacy Security

HP Quietly Installs System-Slowing Spyware On Its PCs, Users Say (computerworld.com) 127

It hasn't been long since Lenovo settled a massive $3.5 million fine for preinstalling adware on laptops without users' consent, and it appears HP is on to the same route already. According to numerous reports gathered by news outlet Computer World, the brand is deploying a telemetry client on customer computers without asking permission. The software, called "HP Touchpoint Analytics Service", appears to replace the self-managed HP Touchpoint Manager solution. To make matter worse, the suite seems to be slowing down PCs, users say. From the report: Dubbed "HP Touchpoint Analytics Service," HP says it "harvests telemetry information that is used by HP Touchpoint's analytical services." Apparently, it's HP Touchpoint Analytics Client version 4.0.2.1435. There are dozens of reports of this new, ahem, service scattered all over the internet. According to Gunter Born, reports of the infection go all the way back to Nov. 15, when poster MML on BleepingComputer said: "After the latest batch of Windows updates, about a half hour after installing the last, I noticed that this had been installed on my computer because it showed up in the notes of my Kaspersky, and that it opened the Windows Dump File verifier and ran a disk check and battery test." According to Gartner, HP was the largest PC vendor in the quarter that ended in September this year.
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HP Quietly Installs System-Slowing Spyware On Its PCs, Users Say

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  • Well duh (Score:5, Informative)

    by Revek ( 133289 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @11:49AM (#55636785) Homepage

    It doesn't matter if its spying or not most 'value added' crap, computer manufacturers installs slows the computer. Rarely do they add to the performance of the PC. Hp printer installers are the worst for installing garbage you don't need.

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      This has been an issue HP printers and scanners as well. HP installs a whole suite of functionality and disrupts the OS.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @11:52AM (#55636805)

    I don't see how this is news. If you find a great deal or otherwise find yourself in the possession of a pre-built PC then the first thing you do is wipe the whole system and install fresh (could be Linux, Windows, dual-whatever-boot, or even OSX).

    This has been normal since at least 20+ years ago. Did you not know this? Are you geeks or morons?

    • by Fly Swatter ( 30498 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @12:18PM (#55636967) Homepage

      This has been normal since at least 20+ years ago. Did you not know this? Are you geeks or morons?

      Millennials! Damn, that never gets old.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      We're morons. Only you have the knowledge. Tell us more of this wisdom you so willingly dish out.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Wipe the system and install fresh?
      From what? They don't give installation discs anymore.

      • Use system to download OS installation files and prepare installation disk/drive/whatever.

        Make sure to inject drivers for your USB controller, display adapter, and network adapter. Windows 10 will grab drivers for your storage adapter and other shit from Windows Update before installation, but you'll need USB unless you're using PS/2 or an unattended setup file, video, and network all working in the installer. (You'd think this would be pretty standard and foolproof, but with Windows 7, Intel's newer chip

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This [owner installing OS on new computer] has been normal since at least 20+ years ago.

      No, something has changed. People have (within the last 10 years) become used to buying computers and keeping all the software that's on them. You and I want to buy blank hardware and then put the software on it, but the overall market and population is moving away from that, and even away from owners having the ability to do that.

      The reason for this, is that if your computer fits in your hand, all the rules are differe

      • I just don't know why that's why. But it's universally agreed that if a computer fits in your hand, all prevously-acquired common sense is inapplicable, but can't be re-acquired fresh.

        Actually, it stems from the fact that it fits in your pocket.
        Because of the small form factor, manufacturer try to integrate as many things as possible in the smallest place possible.
        You end up with chipsets and SoC that contain modem directly integrated into them.
        And for licensing and legal reasons, you can't modify that software your self (unless you hold you own very license to use emit on licensed frequencies like those used by cell-phones).
        Which could be understandable, but now becomes extremely proble

    • " find yourself in the possession of a pre-built PC then the first thing you do is wipe the whole system and install fresh"

      Some people around here are intentionally trolling or extremely ignorant of reality. 99% of people do not reinstall the OS on the brand new computer they just bought. Do you check the valve clearances on your brand new dealership car purchase? no, because you assume that the auto manufacturer built a car as functionally and perfectly as possible, and with your interests in mind. People

      • by Trogre ( 513942 )

        99% of nerds, man, nerds.

        We don't check the valve clearances on our petrol cars because, as you say, the auto manufacturer has likely built a car as functionally and perfectly as possible, and with your interests in mind. Until you find out which parts are designed to break in which order, of course.

        PC manufacturers have demonstrated time and again that they clearly do not have your interests in mind, otherwise we would not be having this discussion.

        Most of those crapwares HP actually thinks serves a purpo

  • install Linux on, problem solved,

    do i get a cookie for offering a solution?

    • Or buy machines from vendors that offer vanilla Windows installations. Just be careful that the crapware isn't still there, masquerading as little driver configurators in the toolbar.

      The one thing I cannot fathom is why any sane hardware supplier would ship their machines with Norton preinstalled. It's a notorious piece of crap, yet I find it on quite a few PCs. If someone asks me if "I can figure out why their PC is so slow", the first thing I do is ditch Norton: 9 out of 10 cases that fixes the prob
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      1. Remove Windows
      2. Install Linux
      3. Remove Linux
      4. Install FreeBSD

      • 6. Remove FreeBSD

        7. Install archlinux www.archlinux.org

        • 8. Remove Arch Linux.
          9. Install DOS.
          10. Play Duke Nukem, Command & Conquer, Doom, etc.
          11. Cry because there's no fucking way you'll get sound out of them on a Realtek chipset and no fucking way a modern Creative card will work.

    • Sorry but I never share cookies. Perhaps I could interest you in some tripe?
  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @11:58AM (#55636843)

    I have way too much end user computing experience...vendor's junkware is very familiar to me. One of the things I do a lot when building a master disk image for a company is try to determine which pieces of junkware really are needed to control built-in hardware. HP laptops are a really good example...the backlights, screen brightness, volume, etc. are controlled by a massive pig of a WPF application that needs to be installed or the devices won't work 100%. On a new install, you can actually push one of the control keys and watch for 30 or more seconds while the .NET modules are compiled in the background before the OSD appears and shows your change.

    You can bet next month's house payment that these various pieces of vendor junkware consist of stitched-together example code from the hardware vendors and the lowest-bidder offshored developers contributing the glue portions. They don't invest anything beyond what they have to to get the hardware shipped. So, the speed factor is probably just a side effect of the telemetry client being the cheapest possible development HP could do. This sounds like Lenovo's Superfish moment all over again though; you'd think vendors would avoid that even on their cheapest crappiest Best Buy consumer models.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @12:01PM (#55636863)
    with a Macbook because it kept crashing. She's in college and too far away for me to really troubleshoot it. So she comes home and brings the Toshiba with her so I can troublshoot.

    The crashes were caused by all the crapware. Reams and reams of it. This isn't a cheap laptop either, it's a $1200 i7 with 16 gigs of ram and a 7200 rpm drive (albeit no SSD).

    I always wondered why the heck folks were banging on about when they said Macs were better/faster/more stable than a PC. But I only use a corporate laptop and I build desktops at home. The few old laptops I have around home run Linux. Do these manufactures not realize just how much damage the crapware does to their brand?
    • They truly DON'T CARE one way or the other, the crapware generates income for them, hence why.
      Solution: https://www.reddit.com/r/TronS... [reddit.com]

    • Do these manufactures not realize just how much damage the crapware does to their brand?

      They don't care because a big part of their business case for PC products which have razor thin margins and anything that brings in additional revenue is going to be implemented.

      I've been using a MacBook Air for three years now as my primary business laptop and have been putting Mint on the few old Windows laptops I have hanging around and building my own systems to avoid the pre-installed malware of "Name" brands like HP. I can't say enough good things about my MacBook Air - I don't use it for code develo

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Do these manufactures not realize just how much damage the crapware does to their brand?

        They don't care because a big part of their business case for PC products which have razor thin margins and anything that brings in additional revenue is going to be implemented.

        I've been using a MacBook Air for three years now as my primary business laptop and have been putting Mint on the few old Windows laptops I have hanging around and building my own systems to avoid the pre-installed malware of "Name" brands like HP. I can't say enough good things about my MacBook Air - I don't use it for code development but for email, presentations and /. posts, it's the best laptop I've ever owned. I just wish the Mac Pages, Numbers and Keynote (as well as Google Apps) worked as well as were completely compatible with the Office equivalents.

        Unfortunately, at my daughter's college the faculty push Windows (10!) products with very significant discounts for the students. I've been trying to get her to do her programming work/assignments on a system that I have built and use a MacBook for classes.

        With Windows 10 ISO download and electronic activation, there really is no excuse not to just wipe the pre-installed mess and put a clean Windows 10 image on. It should run much better, have no activation issues, and give you a nice known base installation from which you can make a reasonable restore image.

        https://www.microsoft.com/en-g... [microsoft.com]

        • by Teckla ( 630646 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @12:53PM (#55637189)

          With Windows 10 ISO download and electronic activation, there really is no excuse not to just wipe the pre-installed mess and put a clean Windows 10 image on.

          You can still run into driver issues with this approach. Source: Reinstalled Windows 10 a few weeks ago.

          It's worth it, but does take some technical expertise. Would not recommend it for non-technical people.

        • The problem seems to be laptops with all the esoteric hardware. The drivers come from the PC vendor and then you've got the worst of the spyware back.

          I've been using self-assemled PC desktops where I can get actual hardware drivers and Mac laptops for decades and that's why I won't touch a PC laptop.
        • Interesting - what is the difference between what is put on the PC originally and the ISO image?

          Aren't they identical?

    • with a Macbook because it kept crashing. She's in college and too far away for me to really troubleshoot it. So she comes home and brings the Toshiba with her so I can troublshoot.

      So, she's in college but not smart enough to troubleshoot simple problems on a computer.

      I'm not sure if that reflects badly on our educational system or her parents.

      • You say "troubleshoot simple problems" as if everyone understands all the tiny little details in modern computers and operating systems.

        Check the list of processes on ANY operating system and I'm sure 99.9999% of the population has ZERO clue as to what any of those processes actually does.

      • Senior systems architect of 20 years. Grew up on Solaris 2.6, Slackware, and have been an exclusive Debian user for the balance. Designed and built embedded flight controllers, vehicle dynamics processors, power controllers...

        I am not smart enough to troubleshoot Windows issues. So give 'er a break.

    • by eam3 ( 962365 )
      Just bought a new HP desktop in July and the first thing I did when I took it out of the box was install an SSD followed by a fresh Win10 Pro install and nuked the original 2TB drive to make it a data drive. Has been working flawlessly since day 1, I never bother to see what garbage they are throwing in from the factory any more.
    • Do these manufactures not realize just how much damage the crapware does to their brand?

      Most of their customers think that all operating systems do that. They have very low expectations for their computers.

    • She's in college....The crashes were caused by all the crapware.

      If I were you, I would have clean install a windows or whatever OS. Devices I personally maintain don't get vendor's crapware even from the start.

      Unless they love to click on random stuff on the internet, then I would just give them a a bootable linux usb, because it will be the only thing they can use after their pc became slow as turtle.

  • These fucking corporations get their asses handed to them.. Including executives who signed off on doing this shit get a nice cell at Leavenworth for a few years, along with forfeiture of ALL pay and allowances...

  • Windows Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Camel Pilot ( 78781 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @12:11PM (#55636925) Homepage Journal

    I have been running Linux on the desktop for 3 years... I don't miss anything. I upgraded from CentOS 6 to 7 recently and from a fresh install, it took 2 hours including my toolchain and epel apps.

    On the other hand, I maintain my families Windows machines. Had to reinstall Windows 10 on a laptop this weekend because all the crapware that was slowing it down making it unusable. I swear you have to do this every few years because of crap that accumulates - let alone the crap that comes with a new PC. It took the entire day to re-install Windows and Office - many reboots for reasons I don't know -
        Goodbye Sunday

    • On the other hand, I maintain my families Windows machines.

      I don't even "maintain" my mothers or my sister's machine anymore. At some point you should just tell your family they are too stupid to use computers.

      Had to reinstall Windows 10 on a laptop this weekend because all the crapware that was slowing it down making it unusable. I swear you have to do this every few years because of crap that accumulates - let alone the crap that comes with a new PC.

      Then you swear wrong or you just have phenomenal idiots as users. The last OS that needed reinstalling because it slowed down was XP. I installed Windows 10 on my personal machine 2 weeks ago. For shits and giggles I did a "systeminfo | find /i "install date" and got a wonderful answer of December 2010, and I only did the reinstall since my SSD finally died.

      It took the entire day to re-install Windows and Office - many reboots for reasons I don't know -

      N

  • "it appears HP is on to the same route already"

    They've been doing this since seriously Windows 95. Maybe not the "telemetry" thing but installing crap software the user doesn't need. I should give them some credit, I cut my IT teeth fixing these issues so with all sincerity, HP can still kiss my ass. Comcast is the only company I hate more.

    On a side note, I've had great luck with my Cannon Laser printer; still on the original toner cartridge, doesn't require any special software to print, prints over wifi,

  • $3.5million is *not* a massive fine, that's less than the annual bonus to the CEO...
  • I used to spend most of my days passing through airports and on the road, needing to print to whatever printer was at that day's location. After installing a few hundred printer "drivers" you get a feel for just how much everyone else owns your computer, and that, yes, "security updates" may indeed be misnamed. I developed a strong appreciation for the detailed view of Task Manager, SNORT and WinPcap. I hated that so much of my attention was diverted from business and sunk into studying all the "legitima

  • by adosch ( 1397357 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @12:29PM (#55637043)

    That's always been a problem IMHO with any vendor pre-installed bullshit of any kind. Most of this turn-key OEM-installed bullshit isn't for the most of the crowd here, it's for the people who want that computer to 'just work' out of the box, and pre-installed with not-even-free versions of software packages anymore. This is such a non-story to me personally because over the last 20 year I've been into the tech/IT/computing realm of things, there's just way too many instances of this to cite of this going on at the big player level. It's here [techdirt.com], and here [slate.com] for the 30 seconds of googling it too to refresh my memory.

    I saw a lot of banter about installing Linux on this or that or 'Linux solves this issue' --- no it doesn't. I've ran Linux + X-windows + gnome/evolution/xfce window manager mixes since late 1990's on all my laptops and desktops to now in 2017; that's a preference. And the way Linux installs have become super mega friendly, tell me if you're in any worse a boat knowing every waking package you got installed on there? A great example is goa-daemon [redhat.com] in Gnome Window Manager builds the last two years on most distros --- fuck that package. May not be spyware, but with all it's seemingly conspiracy-driven build-deps around it, I mind as well be trying to remove spyware.

    My long winded point is: Please have that nephew, niece or some half savvy ass person in your life just put in a fresh install of Windows on that pre-bundled piece of OEM shit HP/Dell/Lenovo and anyone else in that space calling an 'Windows OS deployment'. I don't trust that shit and no one else should.

  • by Stinky Cheese Man ( 548499 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @12:57PM (#55637215)
    Lenovo had $43 billion in revenue last year. If my math is correct, this "massive" fine is about what Lenovo makes in 43 minutes. That's not even a slap on the wrist.
  • ... look at these Android apps [eu.org] that either track shit or have extraordinary permissions.

    For Instagram: android.permission.GET_ACCOUNTS

    find accounts on the device
            Allows the app to get the list of accounts known by the phone. This may include any accounts created by applications you have installed.

  • And HP was finally getting better on the design department... seriously, for all the crap I've thrown against HP laptops in the past, the current line looks a whole lot better design wise.
    But of course it'd be one of the companies to also force the telemetry crap against users, because at it's core I guess it never changes.
    Anyways, another one into the blacklist.

  • ...I thought they were talking about HP's printer drivers. I've never seen a more bloated pig of a driver than these!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The software, called "HP Touchpoint Analytics Service", appears to replace the self-managed HP Touchpoint Manager solution. To make matter worse, the suite seems to be slowing down PCs

    Which should surprise absolutely nobody. Shit like this has been happening for a long time.

    OEM installs of the OS are some of the worst pieces of shit on the planet, and not entirely different from the bullshit of branded Android. It installs useless crap which boils down to "assistants" which help you do stuff Windows alre

  • From memory, their website uses the same design goals.

  • Not to worry, Windows 10 comes with it's own called telemetry". Even with a m.2 drive, it was running for a few minutes every time I booted the machine with hundreds of megabytes of IO. That being said, it's a few times a month I boot as it is just my gaming rig, so I don't know if it does that if you boot it on a daily basis.

    FYI.Creating a reg-key(HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DataCollection) with the value of 0 seemed to help.

  • HP has been selling PCs with Windows 10 for years now.

    They don't even bother to hide this fact.

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