New reports point to Samsung disabling the Windows Update feature on some of its computers, and the company’s support team has allegedly confirmed the move, and the company itself says it is working with Microsoft to resolve the issue.
When Samsung was informed about its SW Update software, one of its support representatives responded saying, “When you enable Windows Updates, it will install the Default Drivers for all the hardware on laptop which may or may not work. For example if there is USB 3.0 on laptop, the ports may not work with the installation of updates. So to prevent this, SW Update tool will prevent Windows Updates.”
Venture Beat has quoted a Microsoft spokesperson who responded to the SW Update software issue, “Windows Update remains a critical component of our security commitment to our customers. We do not recommend disabling or modifying Windows Update in any way as this could expose a customer to increased security risks. We are in contact with Samsung to address this issue.”
Soon after the issue was extensively reported by various news publications, Samsung confirmed to Venture Beat that it is investigating. A Samsung spokesperson said, “We are aware of Mr. Barker’s claim regarding Windows 8.1 updates on our computers. We take security concerns very seriously and we are working with Microsoft to address this matter.”
Patrick Barker, Microsoft MVP, discovered that a program named Disable_Windowsupdate.exe which is a part of Samsung’s preloaded SW Update software on some of its computers disabled the Windows Update.
Barker in a blog has detailed the issue and notes, “SW Update is your typical OEM updating software that will update your Samsung drivers, the bloatware that came on your Samsung machine, etc. The only difference between other OEM updating software is, Samsung’s disables WU.” Barker came across the SW Update program issue while assisting a Samsung computer user whose Windows Update was getting disabled randomly.
The program that was used to figure out what Samsung’s SW Update program was in fact doing was auditpol.exe, and along with registry security auditing, it was revealed that the program that was responsible for disabling WU was Disable_Windowsupdate.exe, which is part of Samsung’s SW Update software. Samsung’s SW Update allows users to download and install the new drivers, updates, and software for Windows PC.
Further detailing how the Disable_Windowsupdate.exe functions, Barker explains, “What’s actually causing Windows Update to persistently become disabled/reset is the fact that Disable_Windowsupdate.exe creates a scheduled task that runs at every logon to ensure that Windows Update is indeed disabled.”
It seems computer and laptop manufacturers have not learnt from the famous Superfish episode that rocked Lenovo. Several user reports earlier this year reportedabout Lenovo shipping adware, or software that spammed users with ads, on its consumer PCs. The software was even said to be spamming third-party ads and pop-ups on Google searches and websites without the user’s permission. Lenovo’s new machines were reported to be coming with software called Superfish pre-installed, which acted like adware and affected Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Mozilla Firefox browsers on Google searches and on websites.
The Chinese PC maker had to announce that it would no longer pre-install softwarethat were malicious and made devices vulnerable to hacking.