Samsung was caught disabling updates for Windows on many of its computers. The South Korean tech giant disables its rivals updates in order to use its own updates instead. Patrick Baker, MVP for Microsoft, first noted the activity after he discovered a program called Disable_Windowsupdate.exe right on his own computer.
Samsung customer representative confirms suspicions
Baker then consulted a Samsung customer service representative and wrote about the experience on his blog. The representative confirmed that Samsung’s tools disabled Windows updates, only after denying the whole thing initially. The rep also offered a somewhat lackluster excuse for Samsung:
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“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 the Windows updates.”
It’s not rare for computer makers to send out their devices with their own versions of a software update tool. But it is strange when companies disable Windows updates in order to make users completely reliant on their updates.
Samsung puts PC users at risk
According to a post from Venture Beat, Samsung noticed that Microsoft tends to overwrite drivers the company hoped to use. However, instead of actually taking the time to address the problem, Samsung simply disabled Windows’ means of security.
Rapid7’s Tod Beardsley expressed his concerns over Samsung’s choice to disable Windows Updates. He said that it disabled future security updates and undid years of progress Microsoft made toward safety. The scandal is similar to a scandal that happened earlier this year when Lenovo added adware in new computers that disables SSL security measures for certain websites. Lenovo also didn’t offer users practical mechanisms for opting out.