Sure there are several legitmate cases where the HP Support Assistant can be helpful, such as updating drivers or flashing the BIOS on the computer, but if you’re reading this, you’ve probably already established the fact that the software basically hijacks your computer and does a lot of shady shit in the background. I would absolutely classify the product as being spyware and would highly recommend that you take all steps necessary to disable it when it is not being used, and here are some reasons why.
My first problem is that by default, the HP Support Assistant does an intrusive scan of your network to search for “devices” every time the software runs and it appears you can’t turn that off. It doesn’t get much shadier than that folks, seeing as how you don’t really know what they are up to and why they are taking an inventory of your entire network.
The same can be said for any of the newer HP servers, they all have backdoors and remote management capabilites built directly into the BIOS’es and probably on the processor chips themselves. They call that a “feature” but clearly it can serve a dual purpose and more than likely does.
I just saw an HP knowledge base article this morning about how mysteriously there was LAN traffic propagating from machines that are “turned off”. Hey don’t worry about that, it was just some accidental IPv6 traffic from a bug in some code somewhere, nothing to see here.
On that note, let me mention this fancy little giblet. There was an article several years back about how Intel has processors with built in 3G/4G chips in them for remote management, by now, if you don’t think every single device in the Internet of Things doesn’t have this same capability, you are extremely naive and need a reality check punch in the throat.
It seems entirely plausible to me, that the traffic emanating from the computers that were shut down could easily have been data that was being sent out the wrong interface on accident. I also think that with the giant spy grid that is in place, we will probably find that it is wirelessly talking to the “Smart Meter” on the outside of your house or is using a form a data over power lines or a mixture of the two. Who knows, obviously this is mere speculation at this point, but I’m betting it will be leaked to the public within the next five to ten years or so.
As more and more information comes to light on these giant tech companies, such as HP and Microsoft, that work hand in hand with each other, it is obvious (it is blatantly and boldy done in your face on purpose) that they are in a race to the finish to up the ante on spying and data mining every bit of your personal information. They are literally salivating (and in some cases jumping the gun) at the thought of the day when they get to start using all that information to target (or harrass, whichever seems more appropriate) end users and groups of people. They already do this for advertising purposes, you just wait until their real agendas start to rear their ugly faces.
This so aptly reminds me of the South Park episode, “The Human Cent-iPad”. In this age of legality and catch-all end user licensing agreements, by using the software you “consent” to whatever their terms are, regardless of how ridiculous they are, because nobody actually reads the fine print. In that episode, Kyle, as most end users do, just clicks yes to agree to the iTunes licensing agreement and in doing so, unknowingly opts himself into being part of a human centipede experiment. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to check it out, it is both disgusting and hilarious, “Noooo, not the cuddlefish!”. I realize it seems I may have gotten a little off topic at this point, but these are all important issues that I think you should know about and hopefully you can see how they apply to this current conversation.
Anyhow, my second example of how the HP SA can be considered malicious in nature, is this: Even if you disable the damn services from starting for the HP Support Assistant and the HP Support Solutions Framework Service in the MMC and go to the extent of renaming some of the file extensions on some of the exe’s, the “self healing” feature, that runs as a Scheduled Task on your computer, fixes all that and you will just randomly find the software running again on it’s own. You know what other software does all that? It’s called malware and it sure seems like HP has gone to great lengths to ensure that the software is running at all times in the background, and more than likely that reason is to spy on you.
And last but not least, reason number three. The software periodically changes your settings back to whatever HP’s desired settings are, such as re-enabling things like automatic updates, changing toolbar settings, opting you back into the Customer Improvement Program after you already opted out, etc, etc. No means no dickhead, seriously.
As with all things in life, they must come to an end, and so to must this article. Here are the steps you must take to completely disable the HP Support Assistant:
- Open up the Control Panel
- Go to Administrative Tools
- Open up the Services applet as Administrator
- Find “HP Software Framework Service”, stop it, and set the startup type to disabled.
- Find “HP Support Solutions Framework Service”, stop it, set the startup type to disabled, and close out of the Services applet.
- Back inside of Administrative Tools, open up Task Scheduler as Administrator
- In the left pane, expand the caret next to Task Scheduler Library
- In the left pane, expand the caret next to Hewlett-Packard
- In the left pane, select HP Active Health and in the right pane, right click on the job titled “HP Active Health Scan (HPSA)” and click disable.
- In the left pane, select HP Support Assistant and in the right pane, right click on the job titled “HP Support Assistant Quick Start” and click disable.
- In the right pane, right click on the job titled “HP Support Assistant Quick Start” and click disable.
- In the right pane, right click on the job titled “PC Health Analysis” and click disable.