Samsung Laptops And The Rootkit Controversy

When you use a computer there are several aspects of it that you have to trust without question.

The first thing that you have to trust is the hardware of the actual machine.

It is just not practical to be suspicious of every part of the computer that is made.

Sure, someone sticking some sort of malware inside of the hardware can happen.

It has happened in the past.

But it is a very rare phenomenon so for the most part you can trust the hardware that you purchase.

And that leads to the second aspect of the computer that you have to trust.

The software.

We are talking about more than just the software, specifically the operating system.

While there may be holes in the operating system it is very unlikely that someone is going to sell you an operating system that is purposely trying to steal your information.

And that is exactly what Samsung was accused of very recently.

Why would they do that?

There were reports that flew around the internet that Samsung had purposely tried to infect the computers that they were shipping with a piece of malware that is known as a rootkit.

Rootkits are pieces of software that sit underneath the kernel layer and are able to intercept the data that is created on your computer.

A rootkit is the most dangerous type of malware because it is very hard to detect.

The security researcher who believed that he had found the Rootkit in the Samsung machine made his discovery by accident.

Now the question becomes why would they do that?

Why would they lose the trust of millions of their customers and another couple of million potential customers for bits of data?

Some people might argue that the data that they could have possibly received from their customers was worth billions.

With enough information about a potential customer marketers are able to better direct the products that they are selling.

This is how a company like Facebook is able to be so profitable.

Because of all the personal information that the users give it they are able to direct them with advertising that is straight to the point.

So the question that still stands is simple.

Was Samsung ready to sell out their customer base to be able to get this information?

NO

The answer is no, Samsung did not sell out their customers.

It turns out what really happened was a case of misinformation from the security researcher.

When you are a computer security researcher you must be careful when you are testing potential vulnerabilities.

When you find something you must be sure that you test it to really be sure that the vulnerability is there and you must test it with more than just your favourite tool.

You must try to do comparisons with several of the markets leading security tools that are available.

It turns out that the tool he was using gave out a false positive with the file that he was testing.

When this was reported it caused an uproar in the online community.

People were outraged that a company like this would stoop to something so low.

It turns out they hadn’t though.

After more tests by both the company and outside auditors it was confirmed that there was no malware that shipped with Samsung computers.

It was all a big misunderstanding and something that needed to be cleared up very quickly.

When you are a large company and you lose the trust of your customers things can go downhill very quickly.

It might not be permanent damage but enough can be done to stain you for a long time.

Just look what happened to Sony.

They actually put a Rootkit on some of the CD’s that they released several years ago and people were outraged.

While they are still in business people still to this day do not fully trust Sony products like they once had before.

But Samsung and other big companies are not the only ones who learned a lesson during this fiasco.

If you are a computer security researcher, you must make sure that you verify your data before you present it to the public.

If not, then you can wind up looking very…

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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