Tag: HP Elitebook

Security flaw found in HP laptop audio driver software–how to fix it


HP Elitebook Folio laptop press picture courtesy of HP

Check that your driver software is up to date on these HP business laptops.

HP issues fix for ‘keylogger’ found on several laptop models | ZDNet

Keylogger Found in Audio Driver of HP Laptops | BleepingComputer

From the horse’s mouth


Download site – identify your computer’s model number in the form on this site to obtain a list of the relevant software

My Comments and further information

Just lately, a security weakness had been found in the Conexant HD Audio driver software that was delivered to a large number of recently-issued HP business-tier laptop computers. It may also affect some of their consumer-focused laptops that run this driver. Let’s not forget the reality that some of you may have one of the affected HP business laptops as a consumer-tier computer, perhaps due to buying an ex-lease or surplus unit. This weakness affects driver versions 10.0.46 and prior versions.

The problem manifests with the MicTray64 program that comes with this software package. Here, it is a keyboard monitor that listens for particular keystrokes in order to allow the user to control the computer’s integrated microphone. But, thanks to debug code being left in the production release of this software, the software becomes a keylogger, writing keystrokes to a cleartext logfile (MicTray.log) in the Users\Public folder on the computer’s system drive.

But what is a monitor program for those of you who want to know? It is a program that “listens” to activity from or to a peripheral for a particular event then instigates a pre-defined activity when a particular event occurs. In most cases, you see these programs in operation when you use a printer or scanner with your computer and they show up a print-job status message when you print or catch scan jobs you started from your scanner’s control surface.

If you have this version of the Conexant HD Audio driver software on your HP business laptop, you may have to use Task Manager to kill the MicTray64 keyboard-monitor process, as well as removing it from the Scheduled Tasks list. It may also be worth moving the MicTray64.exe file out of the Windows\System32 folder and the MicTray.log file out of the Users\Public folder on the system disk to somewhere else on your computer’s file system and see if the computer is still stable and, if so, delete those files.

An update that rectifies this problem has been made available on the HP.com driver download site but should also be made available through Windows Update. This will be available on Wednesday 10 May 2017 (US Pacific Time) for those machines made since 2016 and on Friday 12 May 2017 (US Pacific Time) for systems made during 2015.

HP may have software installed on these systems to check for newer versions of the software drivers, which may simplify the process of updating your computer’s drivers and firmware.

This is endemic of a situation where driver software and system firmware is rushed out the door without being checked that it is production-ready and good-quality software. This software ends up as part of the distribution software image that comes with newer computer equipment, including appearing on the recovery partition of your computer’s system disk.

A good practice is to regularly check your computer manufacturer’s Website for newer drivers and firmware for your computer at regular intervals and install this software. This practice will allow you to have a computer that runs in a more secure and stable manner, perhaps gaining some extra functionality that answers current requirements along the way.

HP to introduce virtual-hardware security for Web browsing


HP Elitebook x360 G2 press picture courtesy of HP USA

HP Elitebook x360 G2 – to be equipped for Sure Click

HP hardens EliteBook protection with Sure Click, a browser secured in virtual hardware | PC World

From the horse’s mouth


Press Release


Press Release

Video explaining the Bromium micro-virtualisation approach (Click / Tap to play)

My Comments

A very common attack gateway that has been identified for endpoint computing devices, especially regular desktop or laptop computers, is the Web browser. It is because the browser is essentially the “viewport” to the Internet for most reading-based tasks.

But most recent browser versions have implemented software-based “hardening” against the various Internet-based attacks. This is in conjunction with the main desktop operating systems being “hardened” through each and every update and patch automatically applied. These updates facilitate practices like “sandboxing” where software of questionable provenance is effectively corralled in a logical quarantine area with minimal privileges so it doesn’t affect the rest of the system.

HP and Bromium have developed a “virtual hardware” approach where a browsing session can take place in a separate “logical computer”, a concept being driven by the multi-core CPUs that are the hub of today’s computer systems. This can provide improved security by using the hardware approach that is effectively with its own operating system and has the data destroyed at the end of a session. Here, it restricts the effect of malware like ransomware picked up during a “drive-by” download because the software can only run within that separate “logical computer”.

At the moment, this feature is being initially rolled out to the Elitebook x360 G2 convertible business laptop but will trickle out across the next generation of “Elite” premium manageable business computers to be launched in the second half of the year. It will work only with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Google’s open-source Chromium browser at the moment. What I would like to see happen is that this feature is able to be “trickled-down” to HP’s consumer, education and small-business product ranges but in a more “self-service” manner because households, small businesses and volunteer-driven community organisations could equally benefit from this feature.

Product Review–HP Elitebook 2560p business notebook


I am reviewing the HP Elitebook 2560p business notebook which is a laptop computer that is pitched for high-security high-availability environments. Here, there is an abundance of security features like a smart-card reader and a fingerprint reader; as well as a chassis that is much more hardy than most business and consumer laptops.

HP Elitebook 2560p business notebook

– this configuration
Processor Intel Sandy Bridge
Core i7-2620M
cheaper – Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5-2520M
Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5-2520M
RAM 4Gb shared with graphics
Secondary storage 500Gb hard disk
cheaper option: 320Gb hard disk
expensive option: 128Gb solid-state drive
DVD burner, SDHC card reader
Display Subsystem Intel HD graphics
Screen 13” widescreen (1366×768) LED backlit LCD
Audio Subsystem Intel HD Audio
Audio Improvements SRS audio tuning
Network Wi-Fi 802.11a/g/n
Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet
Bluetooth 2.1 EDR
Modems 56k Dial-up modem, 3G wireless broadband
Connectivity USB 3 x USB 2.0 (1 with Sleep & Charge, 1 eSATA / USB port)
High-speed connections eSATA port shared with USB
Video VGA, DisplayPort
Audio 3.5mm audio input-output jack, digital out via DisplayPort
Expansion ExpressCard 34
Authentication and Security Fingerprint reader
Smart-card drive
Trusted Platform Module 1.2
Operating System on supplied configuration Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
Windows Experience Index – this configuration Overall: Graphics:
Advanced Graphics:
Insert variants with relative price shifts

The computer itself

Aesthetics and Build Quality

HP Elitebook 2560p business notebook closed front view

The Elitebook when closed shows a thick durable machine

Compared to most notebooks of this screen size that i have reviewed, the HP Elitebook 2560p comes in as a thicker unit which also can feel slightly heavier/ This is although it has a strong aluminium chassis and is built for durability.

The lind uses a push-button latch to stay shut and has a large hinge that runs the length of the computer in a similar manner to a piano hinge. This is another factor that underscores the durability aspect of this computer. They may not score well when it comes to looks but the Elitebook is positioned at a totally different market.

I have noticed that the Elitebook isn’t likely to feel hot to use after a long session of use. This is even though there is a vent on the right-hand side of the unit which does a good of keeping it cool.

User Interface

The Elitebook 2560 has a keyboard that has a textured surface which is conducive to touch-typing. But I have noticed a hard but light touch with the spill-resistant keyboard.

Like the Toshiba Tecra R850 that I previously reviewed, this laptop is equipped with a trackpad and a thumbsitck for those of you who are used to either pointing device. Both these devices can be located easily by sight and by feel, which can please those of you who do a lot of touch-typing. I have also noticed that the trackpad is not likely to cause the cursor to jump around as easily under a lot of touch-typing as I have seen before with other laptops. This is even throe when I was using in on the train in to the city, and is able to fit in well with public transport use.

HP Elitebook 2560p business notebook fingerprint reader

The highly-accurate fingerprint reader that is a key security feature in this notebook

The highly-accurate fingerprint reader is located in a distinct part of the palm-rest, compared to between the trackpad buttons as I have seen on other business laptops. It works properly and consistently even under different temperature conditions. The supplied ProtecTools works as it should as a password vauilt but could identify pre-enrolled Websites so you can immediately log in with your fingerprint rather than you having to select “Fill in form data” or double-click the icon on the browser screen.

There is an integrated GPS sensor for use with mapping and other similar applications; and this option could save you the need to buy a GPS Bluetooth “puck” for these applications. There are also one-touch buttons for turning the Wi-Fi on or off, muting the sound and gaining access to the Web.

Audio and Video

The visual ecperience is typical for the Intel Sandy Bridge integrated graphics, including being able to respond well with video content. This is something I have noticed when I watched Spiral (Engrenages) through the SBS video-on-demand service as well as through regular day-to-day activities.

A bonus that is common with most of the business laptops is that the screen doesn’t appear to be glossy in any way. This can be of benefit if you are working under most lighting conditions.

The audio experience is of a grade typical for most consumer laptops where it can function smoothly on most content. But I wouldn’t expect much from the internal speakers that are part of this and other laptops.

Connectivity, Storage and Expansion

HP Elitebook 2560p business notebook left-hand side connections - power, Ethernet, modem, DVD burner, smart-card reader

Left-hand side – power, Ethernet, modem, DVD burner, smart-card reader

Like a good business laptop, the HP Elitebook 2560p doesn’t skimp on connectivity and expansion options.

There are 3 USB 2.0 ports with one being an eSATA/USB combo port and another being able to charge gadgets when the unit is asleep. External displays can be connected to the DisplayPort socket or a VGA socket, the latter catering for those economy data projectors that I have seen in use. The former socket could be augmented with a supplied DisplayPort-HDMI adaptor to work with the flatscreen TVs.

HP Elitebook 2560p business notebook right-hand-side connections - ExpressCard 34, SD memory card, audio input/output jack, DisplayPort, eSATA / USB, docking station connector, Kensington lock slot

Right-hand-side connections – ExpressCard 34, SD memory card, audio input/output jack, DisplayPort, eSATA / USB, docking station connector, Kensington lock slot

The review unit’s 500Gb hard disk is ample space for a computer that is intended to be taken around many areas. This is augmented with a DVD burner and an SD card reader for your digital camera’s memory card.

The Elitebook can handle most data-networking situations that are thrown at it. This ranges from Wi-Fi wireless networks on both the 3.4GHz and the 5GHz bands, wired Gigabit Ethernet as well as 3G wireless-broadband services.For that matter, the Wi-Fi performed as expected for a current-issue laptop’s Wi-Fi segment. Those of you who are stuck out in the bush with dial-up can use this computer due to an integrated 56k modem. As for Bluetooth, it is only limited to 2.1 with EDR.

There is an integrated ExpressCard slot for use with 4G broadband modems, external sound cards and other devices that can raise the mark for this computer.

HP Elitebook 2560p business notebook rear view - VGA connector and 2 USB connectors

Rear view – VGA display connector and 2 USB connectors

The abovementioned fingerprint reader is part of the Elitebook’s business security abilities which include a smartcard reader and a Trusted Platform Module. This may appeal to government and big business but I would like to see these features work well for “owner-operator” small businesses and freelance workers. For example, the smartcard reader could work with software that authenticates to existing smartcards such as payment cards or SIM cards.

Battery life

HP Elitebook 2560p business notebook smart-card reader

The smart-card reader as part of the Elitebook’s security arsenal

During regular use, the HP Elitebook 2560p isn’t very demanding on the battery even though it is using a larger-capacity battery. Even when I was watching the video-on-demand content, the battery was half-empty at the end of the content.

I ran this laptop through the DVD run-down test and it was able to run this test for 4 hours, 4 minutes. This is something that I see as being on a par with most of the recent Sandy-Bridge-driven laptops where there integrated graphics set is being used to handle the video.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

The HP Elitebook 2560p could be supplied with a DisplayPort – HDMI adaptor so they can be connected to flatscreen TVs and LCD monitors that use the common HDMI or DVI video connections. It could also be equipped with Bluetooth that is to version 3.0 or 4.0 to make it useful for more applications that need higher throughput.

HP Elitebook 2560p at Intercontinental at Relto, Melbourne

This computer would certainly look the part in a business hotel

The smart-card reader could work as part of an enhanced ecommerce / Internet-banking platform that allows customers to log in to their online shopping and Internet banking sites by inserting their credit cards in to the computer’s smart-card reader.

HP could provide a “student-edition” variant of this model and others in the Elitebook lineup without the manageability and extra security features like a smart-card reader. but focus on the durability and provide it at an affordable price. Also they could provide a business-class security arrangement for all of their business laptops with a low cost and knowledge entry point for SOHO and small business.


HP Elitebook 2560p business notebook lid viewI would describe the HP Elitebook 2560p as a 13” notebook that is focused on durability, connectivity and security. It would be of importance for anyone who handles “high-stakes” data like lawyers, accountants or valuers; or journalists reporting on police-state nations and similar topics. Similarly, it would work well with people who are likely to take a laptop computer in to environments which would break most 13″ notebooks and laptops such as rough-terrain areas.

The main sticking point with this is the price of the computer and you may have to try your best in hunting down a good deal for this unit.