AOH :: PT-1022.HTM

Debunking Dell keylogger-built-into-laptop hoax

Debunking Dell keylogger-built-into-laptop hoax
Debunking Dell keylogger-built-into-laptop hoax

A number of folks have sent the Dell story along. It had the smell of a 
hoax from the beginning (would random local police be in on the 
conspiracy?), and these articles debunk it quite nicely: 


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	Declan, can you verify this is for real??
Date: 	Fri, 24 Jun 2005 11:53:59 -0700 (PDT)
From: 	hypatia popol  
To: 	Declan McCullagh  

Dear Declan. This was forwarded to me and as I am not a techkie I cannot
tell if this is by someone who is pretending to know this stuff. Can you
or any of your co-hearts verify this ???? Thanks!

*/Steve Bartholomew /* wrote: 

     Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 17:37:41 -0700 (PDT)
From: Steve Bartholomew  
     Subject: Fwd: You must see this!
To: "John Arnold \(Jack\)"  

     This from a friend in Washington State. I feel safer already, don't 

>     Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2005 21:38:06 -0700
>     Subject: You must see this!
> dell keylogger
>     I was opening up my almost brand new Dell 600m laptop, to replace
>     a broken PCMCIA slot riser on the motherboard. As soon as I got
>     the keyboard off, I noticed a small cable running from the
>     keyboard connection underneath a piece of metal protecting the
>     motherboard.
>     thingy0240.jpg
>     I figured "No Big Deal", and continued with the dissasembly. But
>     when I got the metal panels off, I saw a small white
>     heatshink-wrapped package. Being ever-curious, I sliced the
>     heatshrink open. I found a little circuit board inside.
>     thingy1320.jpg
>     Being an EE by trade, this piqued my curiosity considerably. On
>     one side of the board, one Atmel AT45D041A four megabit Flash
>     memory chip.
>     thingy3320.jpg
>     On the other side, one Microchip Technology PIC16F876 Programmable
>     Interrupt Controller, along with a little Fairchild Semiconductor
>     CD4066BCM quad bilateral switch.
>     thingy2160.jpg
>     Looking further, I saw that the other end of the cable was
>     connected to the integrated ethernet board.
>     What could this mean? I called Dell tech support about it, and
>     they said, and I quote, "The intregrated service tag identifier is
>     there for assisting customers in the event of lost or misplaced
>     personal information." He then hung up.
>     A little more research, and I found that that board spliced in
>     between the keyboard and the ethernet chip is little more than a
>     Keyghost hardware keylogger.
>     The reasons Dell would put this in thier laptops can only be left
>     up to your imagination. It would be very impractical to
>     hand-anylze the logs, and very CPU-intensive to do so on a
>     computer for every person that purchased a dell laptop. Why are
>     these keyloggers here? I recently almost found out.
>     I called the police, as having a keylogger unknown to me in my
>     laptop is a serious offense. They told me to call the Department
>     of Homeland Security. At this point, I am in disbelief. Why would
>     the DHS have a keylogger in my laptop? It was surreal.
>     So I called them, and they told me to submit a Freedom of
>     Information Act request. This is what I got back:
>     homelandletter.png
>     eXTReMe Tracker
>     Bob Alexander
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