More than 460 models of HP laptops have been found to contain a piece of software which is capable of logging every keystroke.
The discovery was made by security researcher Michael Myng who found the hidden tool while investigating how to control the backlight on the keyboard.
After contacting HP, Mr Myng discovered that the key logging software is present in a huge number of the company’s most popular laptops, including models such as Elitebook, Envy, Pavilion and Probook, some of which go back to 2012.
Should the dormant keylogger software be activated, it could record everything typed on the keyboard of the laptop.
In a blog post, Mr Myng said: “Some time ago someone asked me if I can figure out how to control HP’s laptop keyboard backlight.
“I asked for the keyboard driver SynTP.sys, opened it in IDA, and after some browsing noticed a few interesting strings,” he added.
He then contacted HP who confirmed the existence of the keylogger software, claiming it was used for debugging purposes.
HP has since publicly acknowledged that the keylogger software is present in a large number of its laptops and has published a full list of affected models. It has also released a patch which the firm says will remove the keylogger from its laptops.
“They replied terrifically fast, confirmed the presence of the keylogger (which actually was a debug trace) and released an update that removes the trace,” Mr Myng said.
This isn’t the first time keylogging software has been found on HP laptops.
In May, keylogging software was discovered in the audio drivers which came preinstalled on a number of HP laptops.
At the time, HP said the software had been mistakenly installed on the devices.
What to do if your HP laptop contains the keylogger software?
The first thing to do is check if your laptop is affected.
Because the keylogger is present on nearly all of models HP laptop, it’s highly like your laptop includes it too.
You can find a full list of the models affected here.
Next to each model number is the file you need to download that will remove the software from your laptop.