Friday, 17 November, 2017

Lenovo to pay $3.5M in lawsuit involving 750000 vulnerable laptops

Lenovo settles FTC charges of privacy violations Getty Images
Terence Owen | 06 September, 2017, 15:43

Lenovo, a major laptop maker, has agreed to pay $3.5 million and make changes in how it sells laptops in order to settle allegations it sold devices with pre-loaded software that compromised users' security protections. Digging into the settlement details reveals more-the other negative effects Superfish had on day-to-day browsing, and also the mechanism by which both companies interpreted "affirmative consent" to trick people into using the software-a dirty tactic Microsoft itself employed later to force people to upgrade to Windows 10.

The lawsuit claims that for encrypted websites, VisualDiscovery would replace those digital certificates with its own self-signed certificate.

The N.C. Attorney General's Office said Tuesday that the state will receive $101,046 from Lenovo Inc.'s US division to resolve allegations that the company violated state consumer-protection laws.

The software functioned as a shopping assistant, delivering pop-up ads whenever a user's mouse hovered over an online product that looked similar to those sold by Superfish retail partners on shopping websites, the attorney general said.

Residency limits proposed for European Union migrants in leaked Brexit plan
A Government spokesperson told Sky News: "We do not comment on leaked draft documents ". He said "people with the right skills" would still be "welcome".

In addition, also part of the settlement, Lenovo will be required to set up a software security program for any software preloaded on its laptops. Unless consumers opted out, VisualDiscovery would be enabled on their computers. But officials in some states said those laptops were still being sold by some retailers as late as June 2015.

The company is also "prohibited from misrepresenting any features of software preloaded on laptops that will inject advertising into consumers' Internet browsing sessions or transmit sensitive consumer information to third parties".

Lenovo had stopped shipping laptops preloaded with Virtual Discovery in early 2015 but a lot many laptops were already out in the retail stores or consumers and the FTC, as well as the states of USA, weren't happy about that fact. Instead, it will need user consent before installing this type of software and must also implement a software security program for consumer software on its laptops for the next 20 years.

The company "disagrees with allegations contained in these complaints", according to a statement - even though Lenovo CTO Peter Hortensius admitted to Mashable two years ago that the adware created a security vulnerability for users. The name, Superfish, derives from the company who developed the VisualDiscovery software which Lenovo packaged with its PCS. The company noted that to date, they have not been made aware of any third party exploiting the stated vulnerabilities to gain access to user communications. "That said, Lenovo will spend money to hire outside auditors to monitor its security program".

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