Tag Archives: samsung

Is Samsung Installing Keyloggers on New Laptops?

UPDATE! – Earlier today, Samsung reported that this fiasco was nothing more than a case of mis-identification on the part of VIPRE. Apparently, VIPRE can be fooled by Microsoft’s Live Application multi-language supporter. This doesn’t explain why a supervisor with Samsung originally stated that a keylogger was intentionally placed on the machines in order to monitor what customers are doing with the machines. We will continue to monitor this situation and update again if any new information becomes available.

Here we go again, folks. Mohamed Hassan recently purchased a new Samsung R525 laptop. Like any geek worth his (or her) salt, he ran a full system scan with his favorite antivirus product prior to using it for the first time. Much to his surprise, he found a commercial-grade keylogger within seconds. The name of this nasty little program is StarLogger – and Samsung has admitted it was placed there on purpose.

StarLogger is not a nice piece of software. It records every keystroke on a machine – including on password-protected ones. The program automatically begins to run when the computer is booted. It will then randomly email results and includes screenshots. Samsung claims that this was only done in order to “monitor the performance of the machine and to find out how it is being used.”

Yup, you read that correctly. Samsung wants to know everything you’re doing on your personal laptop. Isn’t that nice of them?! Not only is this creepy on a level I have no words to describe, it’s also likely illegal. Back when we dealt with the whole Sony CD rootkit, then FTC chairman Deborah Platt Majoras stated that the “installations of secret software which create security risks are intrusive and unlawful.” It’s assumed that the company will fight the legalities and come up with some half-baked excuse as to why they should be allowed to do this.

Think of it this way, though: if a nefarious person managed to hack into the databases at Samsung… imagine the potential catastrophe there. I don’t care how secure a company thinks it is, it can still happen. We’ve seen it time and time again. Every word you type into your machine – including passwords, banking information and much MUCH more – will fall into the hands of criminals.

At least Samsung is owning up to what they’ve done, and is already at work to correct it:

Samsung has launched an investigation into the matter and is working with Mich Kabay and Mohamed Hassan in the investigation. Samsung engineers are collaborating with the computer security expert, Mohamed Hassan, MSIA, CISSP, CISA, with faculty at the Norwich University Center for Advanced Computing and Digital Forensics, and with the antivirus vendor whose product identified a possible keylogger (or which may have issued a false positive). The company and the University will post news as fast as possible on Network World. A Samsung executive is personally delivering a randomly selected laptop purchased at a retail store to the Norwich scientists. Prof. Kabay praises Samsung for its immediate, positive and collaborative response to this situation.

I’m sorry, but that’s simply not enough. What is there to investigate? If the software was placed there intentionally then I’m not sure why time and money needs to be wasted determining what it’s doing there. The company needs to own up to this colossal breach of trust and security and take quick steps to correct it.

What are your thoughts?

Galaxy Music Player to be Unveiled by Samsung During CES

Samsung has now revealed that they are definitely bringing some hot new goodies to CES, 2011. Yours truly is going to get a nice first-hand look at these sweet little music players. I will be live streaming during the event from the Grand Lobby, and plan to grab someone from Samsung so that all of you can see these little babies close-up, as well. The Galaxy Player is based on the success of their Galaxy S phone offering, and is said to come in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB storage capacities.

According to early reports, the Android-based music player packs a lot of punch into a slick-looking device. Features purported on board include:

  • 1GHz CPU
  • 4-inch Super Clear LCD screen supporting up to WVGA resolution (800×480)
  • Wi-Fi capabilities
  • Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity options
  • 3.2 MP rear camera and rear-facing camera for video chatting
  • GPS
  • HD video playback
  • microSD card slot

Of course, the device will also be able to access the Android Market and the Samsung Apps store – all while hiding away a nifty 1200mAh removable battery.

It’s worth noting that Samsung is on track to sell upwards of 10 million Galaxy S handsets – why wouldn’t a music player with similar specs be able to do the same? Many of you out there have been clamoring for something other than an iPod touch which will have many of the same features – yet stay away from iTunes. Could this Android-based device be what you have been waiting for?

Samsung Tosses a Free Galaxy S to Select iPhone Users

In what I feel is an absolutely genius move on their part, Samsung is offering free Galaxy S devices to well-placed (and frustrated) iPhone users. With “Antennagate” still looming large above us, Samsung has stepped up their game in proving that they feel their device is better.

I happen to have one of these beauties in my possession already, and I love it. This is the best all-around Android device I have used thus far. Samsung feels that if you’re suffering from dropped calls and reliability issues on your iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 you’ll find a better experience with the Galaxy S. They believe in this so much that they are reaching out to ticked-off people on Twitter to offer them a Galaxy S of their very own – at no cost.

In a press statement, Samsung says: “Recently there has been a real increase in online activity from consumers dissatisfied with some of our competitors’ products. We decided to contact a cross section of individuals to offer them a free Samsung Galaxy S as a replacement, as we’re confident that once people have the phone in their hands, they’ll see how impressive it is for themselves.”

The campaign is being handled from the samsungukmobile account on Twitter. Whoever is behind the screen name is busy monitoring tweets, such as the one sent by Tiffany Nieuwland recently. She reported being tired of dealing with dropped calls and inability to even use her iPhone 4 at all. Samsung reached out to her and offered a new Galaxy S. Tiffany reported being skeptical, but anxious to give an Android device a go. After confirming the legitimacy of the campaign, she happily accepted the device.

This marketing campaign may seem a bit unconventional and even weird to some of you. However, I truly do believe it is the best thing that the team at Samsung could have cooked up. My only concern is in wondering how many of the dropped call issues are directly related to the iPhone itself – and how many are due to the ever-lovely AT&T network. Let’s hope all of these happy new Galaxy S owners don’t experience the same issues since they will continue to be stuck on their current network and plans.

Samsung Galaxy S Initial Impressions

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Samsung Mobile. All opinions are 100% mine.

The Samsung Galaxy S will be available soon in the AT&T network. I’ve been able to play with it for the past week or so. Despite moderate usage, I haven’t had to charge it since first turning it on. The battery astounded me, to be quite honest. I’ve been pretty happy with this phone. Despite a few negative remarks I’ve seen elsewhere about this phone, this is the best Android device I’ve tried to date. This will definitely be my default Android phone from now on.

It is extremely lightweight. It feels good in the hand, and the screen is large and gorgeous. The screen is super SUPER bright and vibrant. It’s so bright, in fact, that I had to turn the brightness down. The touch screen is extremely responsive. This means that the processor is fast, and everything is speedy out of the box. I feel this is quality hardware on a quality operating system.

In terms of resolution and capabilities, the camera on the Galaxy S is fantastic where HD video is concerned. If you didn’t already notice, I had uploaded a video review of an iPhone screen protector that I wasn’t happy with. That video was shot using this Galaxy S phone. For some reason, in a low-quality setting, I tend to get these “bars” on the video. I’m not sure if you detect that, but I did through the viewfinder. This is some small lines that appear in videos and photos. I’m not sure if this is a hardware or software issue, though. Hopefully Samsung will look into it.

This phone is running the TouchWiz interface, which is nice for helping you to quickly connect up your social networks. The out-of-the-box experience is honestly very good. For instance, swiping the screen in any direction will automatically open up the lock screen. Hello! That, my friends, is what intuitive is all about.

This is a fantastic Android device, no doubt about it… especially when it will only cost you $200 with a new contract. What I like beyond the price and screen is that Samsung paid attention to what a user might actually want when they turn their phone on for the first time. They added some very popular apps right into the phone, including Layer. Layer is so good that it will get a future video all of its own.

More than anything that impressed me, when I launched the Apps application, I saw a few of these default apps. Normally, apps pushed through a manufacturer’s site or service kind of suck, to put it bluntly. However, I was pretty impressed with many of the ones that I found within Samsung.

Again, my summary is that this is the best Android device I’ve used to date. There are a few negatives, but in my opinion they do not detract from the overall performance of the phone. Yes, there is a replaceable battery. However, in order to get the back of the phone off to GET to said battery you’ll need long fingernails or some type of very thin tool to pry it open.

As Apple pointed out, many other phones lose signal when using a “death grip.” It’s honestly not just the iPhone 4 that does this. The same thing happens with the Galaxy S, as shown in a video on YouTube.

Just about anything you would want in an Android device can be found in the Galaxy S. Are you thinking of grabbing one for yourself?

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Samsung Galaxy S Review

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Samsung Mobile. All opinions are 100% mine.

The new Samsung Galaxy S is definitely a phone worth taking more than a second look at. The screen is bright and beautiful. Text and images aren’t quite as sharp as what you’ll find on the iPhone 4’s screen, though. I’m not the first to claim this as a truth, but it is a very minimal difference. The screen is also very responsive to the touch, which is definitely a large plus. I’ve worked with other phones that just – aren’t.

As an Android device goes, this experience is clean out of the gate – at least, as passed to me by Samsung. It was exceedingly easy to set up and get going. The 1GHz Hummingbird processor coupled with up to 16GB of internal storage makes this a phone that can handle nearly anything you request of it. Keep in mind there’s also a microSD slot capable of handling up to 32GB cards.

The default camera app works well enough for still images and video. The mechanism did produce quite a large amount of horizontal line noise in low-light conditions, though. There are two cameras on the device: the back camera is a 5MP auto-focus unit. The front camera is a VGA-quality, perfect for video calls.

The default menu bar, when opened, allows you to quickly toggle WiFi, Bluetooth, Silent operations and Vibration. This makes it a snap to change between various modes of operation.

Sim and microSD slots are only accessible if you remove the back cover. While this may seem to be a bit of a pain to some, I am going to assume it was done to keep dust and debris from collecting in the spaces when they aren’t being used (and to protect your cards from damage when they are). The USB port has a sliding cover over it. Again, I feel this was done to help protect the area – and that is a plus for me.

Under the cover, you’ll find the Android credentials overlayed with Samsung’s own TouchWiz 3.0 interface. You are able to disable TouchWiz and run Android exclusively if that is your preference. However, TouchWiz gives you the same sort of integration that you’ll find in other popular devices on the market. After setting up your Google accounts, you have the option of quickly connecting your social networks: Facebook, Twitter and even MySpace. You can pull your various friends in as contacts if you wish, just as we could with the Samsung Wave.

The default array of apps is quite nice, including many popular choices. These included familiar standbys such as Layar, the Aldiko eBook reader, AllShare, Daily Briefing and Social Hub. One very cool feature is having the ability to have both Android Market and Samsung Apps in the menu.

There are a few issues that I should point out. No phone is perfect, and this one is not an exception to that rule. There are some slight lag issues when performing certain tasks: opening the email inbox, viewing a selected message and having pop-up contextual messages seeming to hover on the screen a few seconds longer than they should. New SMS alerts are not removed from your notification bar until you actually tap the new conversation bubble and open it in a new page/pane. This isn’t a big “deal,” but it does cause you to go through an extra step every time you receive a new text.

Overall, I feel the Samsung Galaxy S will make a great smartphone for many of you out there. The positives definitely far outweigh the negatives with this device. It’s well made, has clear call capabilities and has pretty impressive multimedia skills.

Twitter TV

Twitter TV

After entering my credentials, it took me ten minutes to bang this out on the remote control and virtual keyboard. It would have taken half that time if I hadn’t pressed the wrong key and the stupid widget software was intelligent enough to save a draft.

As far as I’m concerned, the Internet widgets on Samsung TVs are a total #FAIL.

Your Discs Will be Floppy No More

Do you remember back in 1981 when the floppy disc first made its appearance? At the time, it was a fairly large leap in technology and portability. While many of you young people may snort and scoff at that statement, I assure you it was true of the times more than twenty years ago. As of last year, Sony was still reportedly selling around 8.5 million of these little discs in Japan alone.

However, due to the changing times, Sony has announced they will stop making floppies. Sony wrapped up international sales of floppy discs last month. The company already stopped producing the drives last September. Sadly, it’s the end of an era for those of us who remember. It will be interesting to see how many old-school Geeks will have a fit over this turn of events. I do happen to know people who actually still USE their old beloved floppies.

Are you still a die-hard floppy disc user? Does your computer even HAVE a place to use them?

Even if you don’t have a floppy disc drive on your computer, you can still take advantage of the software discounts we have available for you.

Do We Take Technology Advances Too Far?

In the name of being the best, technology manufacturers are constantly pushing out new product, along with updates to older generation devices. Often, these new gadgets boast something new and improved, making our lives better in some way. Once in awhile, though, we get a product that makes us scratch our collective heads and wonder what on Earth the company in question was thinking of.

Are companies pushing themselves TOO hard to create the next big thing? Are they sometimes sacrificing quality – and sometimes pushing things out too quickly – in the name of beating their competitors to the punch? I happen to think this is absolutely the case, and cannot help but wonder why it’s so all-fire important to hurry? What’s the rush? Where’s the fire? Why don’t these companies take their time to create something truly unique? In my mind, they’d sell far more units – thus making more money – were they to take the time to truly think things through prior to production and rollout.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with me, or do you think I’ve lost my mind (again!)?

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Samsung LED TV Review

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Some people ask what products I choose to buy myself to use in my home. This television is the latest acquisition of mine, and it’s one that I’m seriously happy with. This gorgeous TV is the Samsung 46″ 1080p LED HDTV. The picture is so much better than what this video will show you. It’s seriously crisp, clear and beautiful. This ultra-slim 46-inch LED HDTV boasts full HD 1080p resolution for the sharpest, smoothest picture possible.

This TV is so much more than just a television. It features Samsung’s new [email protected] online content service. Developed with Yahoo!, [email protected] uses either a wired or wireless Ethernet connection to access content onscreen from Yahoo!, Flickr, YouTube and more with the push of a button. The widget-based interface and scrollbar run along the bottom of the screen for easy browsing of the latest programs and content.

Samsung’s 1080p panel uses a new high-speed liquid crystal to cut response time to 4ms. The fast response time dramatically reduces motion blur and shudder. There’s a huge difference between seeing a game, and in seeing every single second of it. That’s where the new Auto Motion Plus 240Hz technology comes into play! All of the action – in every single frame – is analyzed and adjusted… nothing will get past you. This quadruples frame rates from 60 to 240 frames per second. No images are ever repeated to make more frames!

You bet your booty that I bought this little baby for myself, and it’s a purchase I could not regret. The price is actually fairly good, I think. It may seem expensive to you. However, do your research on other televisions of this type. You’re likely going to pay a lot more for them, and I honestly don’t think you’ll get a better experience than you would with this Samsung.

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