A few weeks ago, I was in downtown Munich helping my husband with some volunteer work he was doing, and after we were done, we went shopping.
Just got paid, needed a new laptop. We hightailed it over to Notebookbilliger where I got my hands on what I thought was a really sweet deal at the time. A new Lenovo machine with some pretty cool specs for about €270.
I probably jumped the gun on this purchase as I was salivating over the processor speed (2.1 Ghz), the amount of RAM installed (4 GB) , and the amount of storage (500 GB). I neglected to consider that there was no DVD burner with the unit, which I ended up buying later (I had to get one that was compatible with units installed with the Intel Atom 1.6 Ghz processor. No biggie). Which essentially makes this thing an overgrown netbook. This unit is also recommended for everyday business applications. The programs I would want to run on this laptop (such as FL Studio) would be considered “Gaming” or high-processing software that would more than likely not be recommended for use on this machine.
Oh, I don’t know about that. I installed FL Studio, NTrack 7, Band In a Box, the Cyberlink video and audio suite and other processor-intensive goodies. Sure there were a few issues with FL Studio not being able to play the more plug-in intensive tracks in their demo folder, but, outside of that, no issues. I was also pretty damn impressed that my desktop setup (which also houses Windows 8.1) got ported onto my laptop. So I did not have to go through the process of reinstalling the English layer of Windows on it. Sweet!
The one thing that did disturb me was this laptop came preloaded with a crapload of software – most of it Lenovo-branded, most of which I did not need. Phone Companion? Dude, this is a laptop, not a smartphone! An Ebay app? Really? MacAfee? Didn’t the founder become a gun nut, flee to Belize and get arrested for being a menace and general dickwad to his neighbors? Bye Felicia….
There were a few that I upgraded, though, such as the CyberDirector one. Loved the potential music videos I could make with that software. Travel Advisor would be helpful too, as we now live on a continent where a completely different culture and language is just a hundred miles away.
Anyway, as you all know, then this happened.
Husband alerted me to this a few days ago. I did a cursory check of my installed apps, both in my Windows start menu and in the Install/Uninstall list of programs in the Control Panel. Nope, nothing there.
Apparently, that wasn’t enough.
So today, I followed the manual uninstall instructions posted by Lenovo on their website.
Did another check of installed programs – nothing. Did the certificate check (as I have neither Firefox, nor, as of earlier this week, Thunderbird, installed on my laptop, those hacks did not apply to me). Nothing.
Finally, as a final overall double check, I downloaded and installed the removal tool. This was the result:
I finally ran Windows Defender, because I like to keep things light and native. Survey says:
Ultimate result: I’M SAFE, PEOPLE!!!!!!!!
Further research shows that this issue was brought up on the Lenovo support forums a few months ago
I am guessing that after that debacle, Lenovo stopped installing SuperFish as part of their bloatware suite by the time my own personal unit was built and hoped it would go away. To say they were wrong would an understatement.
Here’s the thing, Lenovo has a top reputation as a premier provider of laptops and laptop products. Even my husband, the house IT guy at many places where he has worked, thought the laptop I got was a really great deal. Why this company felt compelled to sabotage its reputation, and the trust of it’s customers, by putting this sort of thing on their products and think no one would notice is beyond me. I mean, sure, the computer industry is competitive, money is scarce, blah blah blah….
But, FFS, has it come to the point where the safety of your customers is being sacrificed for the sake of ad dollars? What were these people thinking?
Yes, I know, I should have done a clean install of the OS when I got the laptop, to avoid having to deal with this hot mess, in the first place. But this isn’t about me. Grandma does not care a fig about certificates. Or reinstalls. She just wants a machine that will work and not make any threats to her unless she forks over the pin to her online bank account. Or that her granddaughter’s pictures that she thought were just on her computer don’t end up photoshopped on some pado-oriented revenge-porn site, or even worse. Or something.
As for me, I may do a reinstall at some point (I am a bigger fan of Windows 7, anyway). At this point, though, I just uninstalled the bloatware I did not want, and kept the ones I might find useful someday.
After all, I am safe. For now.