Lenovo stops shipping Superfish adware with consumer devices

Lenovo has confirmed it has stopped shipping adware with its consumer laptops, which could have led to encrypted user data being compromised by hackers.

Known as Superfish', the program injected visual search results into the browser without user permission, according to forums unearthed by The Next Web.

While OEMs routinely install bloatware on Windows machines, the Superfish adware appeared to be dangerous, not just inconvenient. This is because it used a self-signed certificate, which if compromised, could have provided hackers with access to all browser data - regardless of whether it had been encrypted.

Lenovo's official statement

"We have thoroughly investigated this technology and do not find any evidence to substantiate security concerns," the firm said in a statement.

"But we know that users reacted to this issue with concern, and so we have taken direct action to stop shipping any products with this software.

"We will continue to review what we do and how we do it in order to ensure we put our user needs, experience and priorities first."

A Lenovo forum administrator tried to allay fears by stating Superfish did not "profile nor monitor user behavior" or "record user information". The firm has now confirmed it has stopped shipping devices with the software.

Many Lenovo users have expressed their dismay at the inclusion of the software.

"I have been working in tech software and systems engineering since mice were not even available for personal computers. I have never seen a brand, of any sort, come OTB with malware," noted a perplexed Lenovo customer.

"This is just unreal...and altogether unacceptable. Lenovo is a brand I always have associated with top quality, best practices trustworthy security. The brand has been rock solid, but sliding for years, and lately I have been having some concerns about its Chinese home...increasingly concerning to me in light of technology security and attacks originating from China."

Below is a tutorial showing users how to uninstall the adware. Those affected are also encouraged to install a fresh copy of Windows to make sure the rogue security certificate is completely removed from their system.

The article was originally published on 19/2/15 and has been updated to reflect with the latest statements from Lenovo.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.