Lenovo's consumers laptops, which means the laptops that people buy in retail shops, come with a program called Superfish installed on them.
Lenovo’s consumers laptops, which means the laptops that people buy in retail shops, come with a program called Superfish installed on them. Users are now reporting that this Superfish program not only injects advertisements in a web page but also steals private data from users.
The issue was highlighted by a Lenovo laptop user on the Lenovo forums.
A user wrote: “Received a (Lenovo) Y50 five days ago. First thing I done was download Chrome and already noticed when I Google search, adware adverts appear into the search results. These are cleverly designed to fit into the search results to make them appear to look normal. So today I got some time to investigate and narrowed it down to a piece of software called Superfish. Lenovo why are you adding adware to your Y50 that hijacks search results on any browser? Is it not enough that customers buy a laptop from you?”
Ken White, a security researcher, later claimed on Twitter that Superfish was also stealing data. “Lenovo notebooks apparently steal your bank/doctor/dating web data and send it to a 3rd party to monetize,” he tweeted.
The forum administrator, who is probably a Lenovo employee, later clarified that the Superfish was a indeed a problem.
“Due to some issues (browser pop up behavior for example), with the Superfish Visual Discovery browser add-on, we have temporarily removed Superfish from our consumer systems until such time as Superfish is able to provide a software build that addresses these issues. As for units already in market, we have requested that Superfish auto-update a fix that addresses these issues,” wrote Mark_Lenovo, the forum administrator.
An adware in a new Wiindows computer is not exactly something new. Although in this case, it seems to be the most pervasive and dangerous kind of adware that a company has pre-installed on its laptops. Almost all Windows laptop makers install unnecessary applications, which in most cases do nothing other than advertising various services, on their machines. These are called bloatware and even when they are harmless, they use computing resources and RAM in a laptop and unnecessarily slow it down.
To make matters really bad for users, it is also almost impossible to remove these programs without resorting to some heavy-handed cleaning that mainstream users may find difficult to do.