Multiple HP customers from around the world are reporting that HP has started deploying a "spyware" onto their laptops—without informing them or asking their permission.
The application being branded as spyware is actually a Windows Telemetry service deployed by HP, called "HP Touchpoint Analytics Client," which was first identified on November 15.
According to reports on several online forums, the telemetry software—which the HP customers said they never opted to have installed and had no idea was continually running in the background—was pushed out in a recent update.
However, it's not yet clear whether the software has come with the latest Microsoft's Windows updates, or via HP's support assistant processes.
An official description of the software says that the program "harvests telemetry information that is used by HP Touchpoint's analytical services."
HP Touchpoint Makes Your Computer Slow
HP customers also complained that the installation slowed down their system significantly.
On HP's customer forum, one user even reported that due to more than 95 percent CPU usage by the analytics service, his system anti-malware software started checking for suspicious activity.
Another user owning an HP laptop head on to Reddit and said:
"So today all of a sudden, I'm experiencing a considerable slowdown in my laptop (Pavilion P3V59PA). Once I look for the problem in Task Manager, I found out that the program called HP Touchpoint Analytics Client (and it's subsequent follow up) constantly jumping the memory usage (~300Mb at a minimum, ~nearly 2Mb at maximum)."
"I don't remember ever installing this program whatsoever, and in control panel, I found that for some reason this program was silently installed today, without my consent."German blog reader Detlef Krentz contacted borncity this weekend and wrote:
"I noticed that HP secretly installed the program 'HP Touchpoint Analytics Client' on all my HP devices on November 20, 2017. The program connects every day to HP. The files sent can be found under 'Program Data/HP/HP Touchpoint Analytics Client/Transfer Interface.'"The program seems to send data to the company's server once per day. If you own an HP PC or laptop, you can find this data under ProgramData\HP\HP Touchpoint Analytics Client\Transfer Interface on the Windows drive.
Fight AI with AI — Battling Cyber Threats with Next-Gen AI Tools
Ready to tackle new AI-driven cybersecurity challenges? Join our insightful webinar with Zscaler to address the growing threat of generative AI in cybersecurity.Supercharge Your Skills
While responding to the allegations, HP said that the company has been shipping the same software on HP laptops since 2014 as part of its Support Assistant software and that it only collects anonymous information about the computer's hardware performance.
However, the only thing that the company has changed is the name.
"HP Touchpoint Analytics is a service we have offered since 2014 as part of HP Support Assistant. It anonymously collects diagnostic information about hardware performance. No data is shared with HP unless access is expressly granted. Customers can opt-out or uninstall the service at any time," HP said in a statement.
"HP Touchpoint Analytics was recently updated, and there were no changes to privacy settings as part of this update. We take customer privacy very seriously and act in accordance with a strict policy, available here."
Here's How to Remove HP Touchpoint Analytics Client
If you don't want this application to send data from your computer to HP's servers, you can disable the service or uninstall the program completely, which is relatively quickly and easily.
To uninstall this service, go to Control Panel and right-click on the program name, and select Uninstall to remove it.
Alternatively, you can just press Windows+R, type "appwiz.cpl," and press Enter to load the Programs and Features control panel applet. Now, select "HP Touchpoint Analytics Client" from the list and click the "Uninstall/Change" to remove the service from your PC.
A few months ago, HP was caught using a built-in keylogger that silently spied on your all keystrokes, and stored every single key-press in a human-readable file located at the public folder, making it accessible to any user or 3rd party app installed on the PC.
Recently, Lenovo has also settled a massive $3.5 million fine from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for preinstalling spyware onto laptops without users' consent.