A report from Paul Thurrott draws an uncomfortable comparison between the behavior of Samsung's notebook software and the recent Superfish controversy, and should be cause for concern for anyone using Samsung laptops with factory software.
Image credit: Samsung
The behavior is rather malware-like, as Thurrott point out: "In disabling Windows Update, the Samsung utility is behaving like malware—is, in fact, malware—which of course opens this event up to a comparison with Lenovo’s Superfish fiasco."
This behavior is apparently designed to prevent Microsoft drivers from installing over Samsung's proprietary versions, but this obviously has significant security implications. The fact that this happens automatically in the background is a signifant breach of trust for consumers. This discovery was initially made by a Microsoft MVP, Paul Barker, who posted this response from Samsung on his blog:
“When you enable Windows updates, it will install the Default Drivers for all the hardware no laptop which may or may not work,” he was told. “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 the Windows updates.”
There are instructions for disabling this software, but it might just be time for all of us to go to the trouble of creating our own official restore media and starting fresh with a clean install of Windows.
I have a Samsung series 3
I have a Samsung series 3 quad core i7 laptop, and the Samsung control center software can not even keep the WI-FI turned of until I turn it on, it turns on by itself. Samsung’s system software, along with Toshiba’s system software is just terrible. But much worse and most under reported issue on laptops, especially on laptops with integrated Intel graphics, is the practice of OEMs customizing the generic Intel Graphics drivers, and then the OEMs will never offer any updated graphics drivers on their laptops. It’s less of a problem on mobile discrete laptop products, but it’s there also. M$ and the OEMs, as well as the makers of GPUs, and other PC/Laptop hardware, need to stick to using the generic/updatable by devices’ ODM’s drivers that go into these OEM laptop products. The laptop owners of GPUs with generic graphics drivers, even Intel’s not so great GPUs, get updates issued for generic graphics drivers, but the laptop OEMs are the ones responsible for any customized drivers, the ODMs are stuck there, and should be requiring the OEM’s to use generic updatable graphics/other drivers.
Users need to be given a choice in the OS, and the installed drivers need to be identifiable as M$ based drivers, or the laptop’s OEM, or ODM drivers, and let the user choose which one to use. The laptop OEMs driver/software update mechanisms are all different across the entire industry, and the state of the OEM system software is in shambles, and maybe the OS maker/s need to force a more standardized way of handling OEM specific software maintenance. OEMs for one need to get together and produce an industry standards update management system that works across all the companies laptop/PC product lines. the current system as it exists is very broken.
On Windows 7 – I have no idea
On Windows 7 – I have no idea about Win 8 – you can disable device driver updates and keep the other updates, so I don’t see any base in Samsung’s excuses. If in Win 8 is different, then it’s another matter.
This seems rather dubious as
This seems rather dubious as an explanation, as driver updates are not auto-installed by AU/WU that I am aware of. Everytime I have seen drivers listed by AU/WU, its ALWAYS an opt-in install where you have to actually select the drive update manually before it will be installed.
What is even worse is
What is even worse is Microsoft has invited manufacturers, like Samsung, do deliver their custom drivers over Windows Update, so, you know, the drivers they are worried about being replaced would be updated with their custom drivers.
HP is already taking advantage of this with Windows 10 drivers fr their models being available day one.