Many Samsung laptop users have recently found, or may still be unaware, that software from Samsung is disabling Microsoft’s automatic Windows Updates, leaving these devices susceptible to attacks and vulnerabilities that may have been preventable. Even if users disable the Samsung software and manually turn Windows Updates back on, the computer will revert back to blocking Windows Updates once it is rebooted.
Disabling Windows Updates, or at least attempting to, is a fairly common tactic across many types of malware. This prevents the user from being prompted or automatically having updates and patches installed that will reduce the infected machine’s vulnerability to this and other strands of malware. Samsung, however, may be the first legitimate hardware manufacturer to intentionally disable Windows Updates.
For certain Samsung laptops there have been issues resulting from Windows Updates when Default Drivers are installed for all hardware following the update. As a result some hardware features of the Samsung laptop, such as USB ports, would not work correctly. As a quick fix to prevent this from happening, Samsung developed a program called “Disable_Windowsupdate.exe” to do just what the name says it will.
Samsung provides what they call their SW Update tool, which updates Samsung’s pre-installed software. In a recent update pushed out through Samsung’s SW Update they additionally installed a service to download and execute the Disable_Windowsupdate.exe file directly from their servers. The file is digitally signed by Samsung, so many consumers approved the installation if they were even aware that it occurred.
Hopefully Samsung will release a new fix to ensure drivers work properly even after Windows Updates soon. But in the meantime, if you are using a Samsung computer it would be in your best interest to check and see if Windows Updates are currently enabled to be sure the latest patches and fixes are installed, and to check again each time you restart the machine.
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