Have you bought a new Lenovo laptop in the last couple of months? Have you seen search results being slightly altered with sponsored links? Surprise… you most probably have Lenovo-installed adware on your computer.
The Chinese electronics giant, which was the world’s largest PC maker by the end of last year, very recently admitted that the Superfish Visual Discovery browser add-on was factory-installed adware on many of its models. And while it hasn’t specifically named which PCs and Laptops have Superfish, users reported that it was present in the G40, Y40 and Y50.
We contacted Lenovo South Africa for comment on possible infections on South African-sold machines, but haven’t been able to establish a concrete answer. (While the firm declined to specifically say that the infections were present in local laptops, the Y50 and G40 are currently available in the market. The Y40 is not.)
It was also very quick to point out that the adware was only installed in a short time period, and that it has now been disabled.
“Superfish was previously included on some consumer notebook products shipped in a short window between October and December to help customers potentially discover interesting products while shopping. However, user feedback was not positive, and we responded quickly and decisively. Superfish has completely disabled server side interactions (since January) on all Lenovo products so that the product is no longer active,” Lenovo South Africa said in a blanket statement, stemming from the global head office.
The company went into detail as to what Superfish actually does, but the fact that users didn’t opt into the software willingly is where the problem lies.
“To be clear, Superfish comes with Lenovo consumer products only and is a technology that helps users find and discover products visually. The technology instantly analyzes images on the web and presents identical and similar product offers that may have lower prices, helping users search for images without knowing exactly what an item is called or how to describe it in a typical text-based search engine.”
The company has in the meantime posted instructions on how to remove Superfish.
How to remove Superfish -> http://t.co/9QXCSE0aTx NOTE: We’ll update shortly w/instructions on how to completely remove root certificate
— Lenovo (@lenovo) February 19, 2015
Personal note after long day of Superfish meetings: Lenovo colleagues working hard to fix this, will work even harder to restore trust.
— Lenovo (@lenovo) February 20, 2015