Lenovo has agreed to a settlement as part of its Superfish adware controversy that first came to light in early 2015. At the time, Lenovo was found to have preinstalled a piece of adware developed by a firm known as Superfish on hundreds of thousands of laptops without its customers' knowledge. After some legal wrangling with the Federal Trade Commission and a 32-state coalition, Lenovo has agreed to $3.5 million in fines and additional stipulations (via Engadget).
The Superfish adware, known as VisualDiscovery, worked by inserting third-party advertisements into Google search results and other websites via a "man-in-the-middle" technique. The adware posed a number of security risks and was able to access potentially sensitive user information like social security numbers, payment information, and login credentials. While it doesn't appear, according to the FTC's statement, that this more sensitive information was transmitted to Superfish's servers, it still put customers at risk should the software have been compromised.
In addition to the $3.5 million fine, the FTC says Lenovo has agreed additional stipulations. From the FTC:
For its part, Lenovo denied the allegations in a statement to Reuters, but said it was pleased that the matter is now settled:
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Not sure how Lenovo's doing financially but I don't think $3.5mil is going to hurt them that much.
This should not have been settled and Lenovo should have been nailed to the wall in court for these disgusting practices and made to pay a lot more and not being able to say "Lenovo disagrees with allegations contained in these complaints" as if nothing happened.
"the company is required for 20 years to implement a comprehensive software security program for most consumer software preloaded on its laptops." I have a possible solution. Don't preload this crap; happy customers; restore brand image; profit.
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