HP Support Assistant is a software program included with HP computers and notebooks. The program is also available as a standalone download; customers who use HP peripherals, such as printers or scanners, can install it to manage these devices on non-HP PCs.
HP posted a security advisory for HP Support Assistant on its website on September 6, 2022. According to the information, HP Support Assistant is vulnerable to DLL hijacking.
DLL hijacking is a common attack technique that exploits weaknesses in the loading order of DLLs in Windows, whenever programs do not correctly specify library paths. Attackers can exploit the weakness by placing malicious DLL files in locations that take precedence over the location of the legitimate DLL file.
Advice: DLL Hijack Detect is an open source tool to detect potential problems in Windows applications regarding DLL hijack.
HP explains about the security advisory:
HP Support Assistant uses HP Performance Tune-up as a diagnostic tool. HP Support Assistant uses Fusion to start HP Performance Tune-up. It is possible for an attacker to exploit the DLL hijacking vulnerability and elevate privileges when Fusion starts HP Performance Tune-up.
The vulnerability has a high severity rating, the second highest after critical.
HP has released an update for its HP Support Assistant software that includes the fix. The company recommends that customers turn on automatic updates to install the latest version. Alternatively, customers can download the latest version of HP Support Assistant from the official website.
The link HP posted at the time of this writing doesn’t work; we replace it with one that works above.
HP Support Assistant 9 for PC requires a Windows 10 or 11 PC. A legacy version is provided for customers running earlier versions of Windows. It’s unclear from HP’s description if the legacy version also received an update.
HP lists all versions of HP Support Assistant prior to 9.11 as affected, suggesting that an update for the legacy version has not been released.
Many PC manufacturers install custom proprietary software on their devices. Some users uninstall these products as they tend to be very heavy and have limited uses, but most PC users keep them installed on their devices.
Now you: do you keep the PC manufacturer’s software installed or uninstall it?