News

PC Maker Lenovo

Messed Up Badly With Tracking Software

January 20 – By: Jordan Robertson
BLOOMBERG NEWS

Lenovo Group has apologized to customers as it works with users to enable laptop computer owners to remove pre-installed software that potentially exposed them to hacking attacks and unauthorized activity monitoring.

The biggest maker of personal computers said it was a mistake to have the software, made by a company called Superfish, included on Lenovo machines. Lenovo posted links on Twitter to its website with information about the software and removal instructions.

The Beijing-based company was responding to a deluge of criticism from cyber-security specialists regarding Superfish’s ability to monitor Web behavior and suggest advertisements based on images that a user might be viewing. The technology used by Superfish essentially breaks the encryption between Web browsers and banking, e-commerce and other sites that handle sensitive information, potentially exposing machines to hacking.

“The Superfish software undermines Internet security for the rather ridiculous purpose of serving advertisements,” said Rainey Reitman, director of activism at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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Russian Researchers Expose Breakthrough

U.S. Spying Program

February 16 – By Joseph Menn
REUTERS

The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives.

That long-sought and closely guarded ability was part of a cluster of spying programs discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based security software maker that has exposed a series of Western cyberespionage operations.

Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen, and Algeria. The targets included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said.

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