March 31, 2011

Samsung reportedly installing keylogger software on laptops (update: official response)

We'll start by saying that we've reached out to Samsung for a response here, but as of now, no reply has been given -- neither a confirmation nor a refusal of truth. Why bother mentioning that? If this here story proves true, Sammy could have a serious problem on its hands -- a problem that'll definitely start with a rash of negative PR, and a quandary that could very well end the outfit up in the courtroom. According to a report by Mohamed Hassan over at Network World, Samsung allegedly took the initiative to install a keylogger into his recently purchased R525 and R540 laptops. The app was noticed right away after a security scan on both systems, with StarLogger popping up with the c:\windows\SL directory. Where things really get strange is on the support line; reportedly, a supervisor informed Mr. Hassan (after an earlier denial) that the company did indeed install the software at the factory in order to "monitor the performance of the machine and to find out how it is being used." Unfortunately, it's difficult to say if this is a widespread issue, or if the tale is entirely correct, but we get the feeling that Samsung will have little choice but to respond in some form or fashion here shortly. Naturally, we'll keep you abreast of the situation -- meanwhile, you may want to reconsider that hate-filled comment you're about to bang out on your Samsung laptop, and instead, feast your eyes on the video just past the break.

Update: Kudos to Samsung for hitting this head-on. An hour after we inquired for comment, a company spokesperson tossed over this official quote: "Samsung takes Mr. Hassan's claims very seriously. After learning of the original post this morning on, we launched an internal investigation into this issue. We will provide further information as soon as it is available."


Google +1

Google +1 is yet another attempt to make Google more social. It's Google's version of the Facebook "likes", a simple feature that's very powerful because it's part of a social network.

Google will show +1 buttons next to all search results and ads, while encouraging other sites to include the buttons. All +1's are public and they're tied to Google Profiles. The goal is to use this data to personalize search results and ads by recommending sites +1'd by your friends. Google Social Search already does this, but there's no support for Facebook likes, so Google had to come up with a substitute.

"+1 is the digital shorthand for 'this is pretty cool.' To recommend something, all you have to do is click +1 on a webpage or ad you find useful. These +1's will then start appearing in Google's search results," explains Google.

This feature is slowly rolled out to, but you can try it by enabling the +1 search experiment.