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  1. #1
    HTML's Avatar
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    Phone Home Spyware

    I'd love to know what "phone home" spyware is.
    I started a new thread on this so that the gator thread does not get too confusing.

    "Phone Home" actually comes installed by default on all Hewlett Packard Pavilion computers. Phone Home is made by a company called "Netropa", and is part of the file MMKEYBD.EXE which drives the HP Pavilion pre-installed internet enabled keyboard.
    Last edited by HTML; 10-18-2005 at 07:01 AM.

  2. #2
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    Hey, it saves NSA a lot of bother in tracking keystrokes by other methods.

    Anyone getting the feeling knowledgeable Jews in Germany must have had in the 1930s?!

  3. #3
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    Some of the Win ME HP Multimedia keyboards had an LED that turned on when the system was connected to the internet. The keyboard drivers that HP got from NetTropia used an ICMP Ping to detect whether the system was connected to the internet. Since it is just an ICMP ping, there is not much about a user that could be tracked. This seems to be benign.

    HP has posted updates to this driver that will no longer do the Ping. These can be found at:
    http://h20015.www2.hp.com/en/document.jhtml?lc=en&docName=bph06267]http://h20015.www2.hp.com/en/document.jhtml?lc=en&docName=bph06267

  4. #4
    HTML's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum and thanks for the great info. It appears that it was just an innocent move on HPs part in an effort to promote technology, they just did not quite understand how important an issue this has become with both consumers as well as webmasters. This particular product does not affect webmasters, that is left to products such as whenu, topmoxie, ebates and the like.

    It is great to see companies that realize how important this issue is to everybody and actually make the changes.

    Way to go HP

    Dave

  5. #5
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    I bought an HP772n late last year and that program was the first thing I looked for when I tried the machine out in the store. It was a pleasant surprise to find it had gone as I use HP exclusively.

    I skipped the phone-home generation by always using a third party keyboard but it makes you wonder how many other seemingly benign programs and peripherals do something similar.

    I know for sure anyone with Verizon DSL will have a program phoning-home (home being Genuity, the backbone provider) CONSTANTLY which is very annoying.

    Easy to block it may be but when your firewall records literally thousands of outgoing connection attempts per day by a program you can't switch off you might start asking "why wasn't I told about this program or given the option to switch it off so it doesn't use up the resources and bandwidth I'm opaying for?" and, more importantly "what information is it sending?"



    Big brother is, indeed, with us. Worse, we invited him into our home when we bought our computers.

    <cue sinister music and fade>

  6. #6
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    Well, It looks like HP changed the web site for the driver. I found the following page that has the driver. This page even mentions the ping from the old driver.

    http://h20015.www2.hp.com/en/softwareDownloadIndex.jhtml?reg=&cc=&softitem=pv-10327-1&prodId=hppavilion18376&lc=en&sw_lang=en

  7. #7
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    Re: Phone Home Spyware

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikailus View Post
    I bought an HP772n late last year and that program was the first thing I looked for when I tried the machine out in the store. It was a pleasant surprise to find it had gone as I use HP exclusively.

    I skipped the phone-home generation by always using a third party keyboard but it makes you wonder how many other seemingly benign Residential Long Distance programs and peripherals do something similar.

    I know for sure anyone with Verizon DSL will have a program phoning-home (home being Genuity, the backbone provider) CONSTANTLY which is very annoying.

    Easy to block it may be but when your firewall records literally thousands of outgoing connection attempts per day by a program you can't switch off you might start asking "why wasn't I told about this program or given the option to switch it off so it doesn't use up the resources and bandwidth I'm opaying for?" and, more importantly "what information is it sending?"



    Big brother is, indeed, with us. Worse, we invited him into our home when we bought our computers.

    <cue sinister music and fade>

    Haha great quote about big brother. Although an old post, I appreciate the info as I was wondering about this.

    thanks,

    -jim



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