Cybersecurity group finds keylogger ‘spyware’ in dozens of HP laptops

Some HP laptops allegedly contain an audio driver that records everything you type, including usernames and passwords, according to Swiss cybersecurity company modzero.

First reported by the Next Web, the audio driver is said to effectively function as spyware that captures everything you type on your computer and records it locally on your system. Modzero says, “there are very few situations where you would describe a keylogger that records all keystrokes as ‘well-intended.’”

A keylogger is usually used to covertly record when a key is pressed, when it is released, or if any “special” keys were typed, like those found on the function row of your keyboard. Modzero points out that this form of spyware can record a password even if it is not displayed on the screen.

HP’s troubling audio driver was first created to record if a special key was pressed or released, but an update in 2015 appears to have modified the software to record every key.

It still isn’t clear if this software was pre-installed by HP, created by the manufacturer of the audio driver, or if HP is the victim of a backdoor attack. The software comes from a Conexant audio driver that can be downloaded from HP’s website. Conexant is a U.S.-based creator of audio- and video-processing software. It isn’t uncommon to find their products on the sound card of certain laptops.

To check if your laptop has the software on it, open up task manager and check for MicTray64.exe. If you see it, delete it. Then navigate and delete C:\Windows\System32\MicTray64.exe or C:\Windows\System32\MicTray.exe.

We have reached out to both HP and Conexant for comment and will update this article if we hear back. In the meantime, you can read the full modzero report here.

Here is a list of the affected laptops. As you’ll notice, they are all business computers:

HP EliteBook 820 G3 Notebook PC

HP EliteBook 828 G3 Notebook PC

HP EliteBook 840 G3 Notebook PC

HP EliteBook 848 G3 Notebook PC

HP EliteBook 850 G3 Notebook PC

HP ProBook 640 G2 Notebook PC

HP ProBook 650 G2 Notebook PC

HP ProBook 645 G2 Notebook PC

HP ProBook 655 G2 Notebook PC

HP ProBook 450 G3 Notebook PC

HP ProBook 430 G3 Notebook PC

HP ProBook 440 G3 Notebook PC

HP ProBook 446 G3 Notebook PC

HP ProBook 470 G3 Notebook PC

HP ProBook 455 G3 Notebook PC

HP EliteBook 725 G3 Notebook PC

HP EliteBook 745 G3 Notebook PC

HP EliteBook 755 G3 Notebook PC

HP EliteBook 1030 G1 Notebook PC

HP ZBook 15u G3 Mobile Workstation

HP Elite x2 1012 G1 Tablet

HP Elite x2 1012 G1 with Travel Keyboard

HP Elite x2 1012 G1 Advanced Keyboard

HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3 Notebook PC

HP ZBook 17 G3 Mobile Workstation

HP ZBook 15 G3 Mobile Workstation

HP ZBook Studio G3 Mobile Workstation

HP EliteBook Folio G1 Notebook PC

H/T The Next Web

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.