HP Has Been Stealthily Dropping Spyware That Slows Down PCs – No User Consent Needed, Of Course!
Many users usually associate pre-installed malware, adware and spyware with Chinese manufacturers, however, growing evidence suggests that just about any major tech company is involved in this practice. According to multiple user complaints, HP is deploying a telemetry client on their machines without user consent.
Identified first on November 15, the software called HP Touchpoint Analytics Service "harvests telemetry information that is used by HP Touchpoint’s analytical services," replacing the self-managed HP Touchpoint Manager solution. It also brings "the tools you need to ensure all your managed devices' security" according to the company description.
User reports collated by Ghacks suggest that some users are reporting extreme CPU usage. On HP's own support site, one complaint reads (emphasis is ours):
On 11/18/2017 Hp Touchpoint Analytics Client was installed on my computer without my consent. I'm assuming it was installed in the background as an update to Hp support or framework. However it happened I don't appreciate it's sneaky take over of my computer's system resources. From yesterday to today it's been making my computer work so hard I can hear it like cranking away and the light in the back of my computer is flashing rapidly in-tune with the cranking. In Task Manager I can see it starting and stopping numerous applications, it's client service and installer, console window host, command prompts, timeout-pause command prompt, it's causing a lot of up and down use of antimalware service executable and local system.
At the moment it isn't clear how exactly is this software is being installed with some users pointing to the latest Windows 10 updates and others to HP Support Assistant routines. But it is unlikely if HP is going to remove it since the company explicitly acknowledges that it is capable of a number of things, including bringing "greater peace of mind" to users.
"From helping you enforce a mobile security policy to wiping a device, HP Touchpoint Manager features the tools you need to ensure all your managed devices' security - and brings you greater peace of mind," the official description reads. Not sure if HP has succeeded there...
You can remove the intrusive driver by following simple instructions on Ghacks.
HP is yet to respond to these complaints; we will update this space if the company comes forward with an explanation or hopefully an announcement of its removal.