Samsung performs U-turn on Windows Update disabler

South Korean PC vendor mimics Lenovo, announces patch for bloatware

Tags: Microsoft CorporationSamsung Electronics CompanySouth KoreaUSA
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Samsung performs U-turn on Windows Update disabler (Getty Images)
By  Stephen McBride Published  June 28, 2015

Samsung Electronics on Friday announced it would release a tool to counter its own SW Update facility that was caught disabling the auto-feature on Windows Update, The Register reported.

Last week an independent security researcher investigating the random disabling of Microsoft's automatic maintenance feature, found the culprit to be a program called Disable_Windowsupdate.exe, which he said was bundled with SW Update, a proprietary driver updater that ships with Samsung PCs. The researcher pointed out that disabling Windows Update could put machines at risk of cyber attack.

A Samsung technical support engineer explained to The Register that the bloatware disabled Windows own feature to stop Microsoft automatically patching Samsung machines with default drivers, instead of those the South Korean firm had written to work optimally with its own hardware. However, a subsequent official statement from Samsung said the company did not disable Windows Update and invited customers to call an 800 number if they had any concerns.

Microsoft, meanwhile, reiterated earlier standard statements that it "[did] not recommend disabling or modifying Windows Update in any way as this could expose a customer to increased security risks".

Samsung's statement announcing amended updates said it the company had "a commitment to security and we continue to value our partnership with Microsoft". The allusion to the OEM partnership led The Register to speculate that Microsoft may have had a hand in Samsung's rapid response. Redmond may not only be concerned with security but with system stability on consumer machines after the release of Windows 10, which will need frequent patching in the early days.

"We will be issuing a patch through the Samsung Software Update notification process to revert back to the recommended automatic Windows Update settings within a few days," Samsung announced in its statement. "Samsung remains committed to providing a trustworthy user experience and we encourage customers with product questions or concerns to contact us directly."

Samsung's U-turn mirrors a similar adjustment to that of Lenovo, which had to release a software tool in February to automatically remove its Superfish Visual Discovery adware from PCs, after security specialists accused it of spying on traffic between browser and server, and faking certificates to plant adverts in secure websites.

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