McAfee security has become spyware

spyMcAfee software which comes bundled with some PCs seems to be converting itself to spyware to help serve up advertising and could be used as a geolocation tool.

Help Net Security wrote that  seven laptops, the Lenovo Flex 3, Lenovo G50-80 (UK version), HP Envy, HP Stream x360 (Microsoft Signature Edition), HP Stream (UK version), Acer Aspire F15 (UK version), and Dell Inspiron 14 (Canadian version) were tested by the security research team of Duo Security.

Duo sniffed the traffic sent from and to them once they have been taken out of the box, plugged in, and connected to a network.

“Within the first few packets on all seven laptops, there were issues. It took awhile to figure them out, as much of the traffic was encrypted and one had to go by server hostname or calling program name, or by reverse-engineering the calling code to find out what was going on,” they pointed out.

It found several security issues which should have been fixed last year and some of the Windows 10 security settings were being reset to their “phone home” defaults.  But that was not the worst thing.

The McAfee software was using web beacons that can be used to track and serve advertising to users and to track users.

Basically to fix the problems is to turn off all privacy settings, make some registry settings adjustments, and turn off some services. You have to do this each time you patch your PC, the researchers advised. Of course removing McAfee, setting up Windows Defender, and adjusting firewalls to stop the transmission of data is probably better.