Lenovo laptops automatically re-install removed software2015-08-13 18:23 by Daniela
Tags: Lenovo, Windows
Chinese computer maker Lenovo has reportedly installed its own proprietary software on Windows PCs, which is almost impossible to remove.
This is possible thanks to a Windows 8 and Windows 10 feature that allows PC OEMs to embed a Windows executable in their system firmware. Windows 8 and 10 will then extract this executable during boot time and run it automatically. In this way, the OEM can inject software onto a Windows machine even if the operating system was cleanly installed. This makes the removal of the software almost impossible.
The "rootkit" installer, called the Lenovo Service Engine (LSE), works by installing an additional program that updates drivers, firmware, and other pre-installed apps. It resides in the computer's BIOS, replaces a core Windows system file with its own, allowing files to be downloaded once the device is connected to the internet. It also "sends non-personally identifiable system data to Lenovo servers," according to the company.
It's not the first time Lenovo has been caught in privacy-related violations. Earlier this year, the company was involved into another scandal. It had installed Superfish adware over a three-month period on new machines sold through retail channels. Superfish is used to intercept and hijack internet traffic flowing over secure connections, including online stores, banks, among others.
A list with affected devices can be found here.
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