HP may have installed a spyware in its computers without the permission of users, with the program also coming with the added bonus of slowing down the performance of the affected machines.
The spyware, however, is easy to detect and remove, so all owners of HP PCs and laptops are urged to delete the program if they find it on their devices.
HP Spyware: What Does It Do?
HP has rolled out a telemetry client named HP Touchpoint Analytics Service that appears to be a replacement for the HP Touchpoint Manager. The latter was a standalone device management service that businesses used to locate, erase, and troubleshoot devices, as well as gather the statistics of the device. The former, however, is described as software that "harvests telemetry information that is used by HP Touchpoint's analytical services," and sends the data to HP once daily.
HP Touchpoint Analytics Service is being installed in PCs and laptops without asking for user permission. It is unclear how exactly the spyware is being rolled out, but it means that HP device owners who are unaware of the spyware are now sending telemetry data without knowing about it.
Further making matters worse is that the spyware is degrading the performance of the computers where it is installed.
How To Remove The HP Spyware
Fortunately, removing HP Touchpoint Analytics Service only requires a few steps and takes a few minutes.
According to instructions from Ghacks, there are two methods to delete the spyware. The first way is to call up the Run dialog by simultaneously pressing the Windows button and R key, and type in services.msc. If HP Touchpoint Analytics Client can be found under the Services listing, double-click on it, then set startup type to Disabled and select Stop.
The second method, in case HP Touchpoint Analytics Client in the Services listing, is to enter appwiz.cpl instead on the Run dialog. Users will then have to locate HP Touchpoint Manager, right-click on it, and then choose Uninstall.
Be Careful Against Spyware
Programs appearing on computers without user permission are not a new thing. Lenovo recently settled a fine of $3.5 million for the Superfish adware that came pre-installed in laptops.
Users should remain vigilant against spyware to protect their privacy, though in some cases, the initiative should come from the tech companies. In August, Google removed spyware apps from the Google Play Store, and in April, Verizon reiterated that it has no plans to install spyware on Android smartphones or track data after allegations from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.