Hugh Pickens writes:
Reuters reports that the US Department of Homeland Security has advised Lenovo customers to remove "Superfish" software from their computers. According to an alert released through its National Cyber Awareness System, the software makes users vulnerable to SSL spoofing and could allow a remote attacker to read encrypted web browser traffic, spoof websites, and perform other attacks on Lenovo PCs with the software installed.
Lenovo inititally said it stopped shipping the software because of complaints about features, not a security vulnerability. "We have thoroughly investigated this technology and do not find any evidence to substantiate security concerns," the company said in a statement to Reuters early on Thursday. On Friday, Lenovo spokesman Brion Tingler said the company's initial findings were flawed and that it was now advising customers to remove the software and providing instructions for uninstalling "Superfish". "We should have known about this sooner," Tingler said in an email. "And if we could go back, we never would have installed this software on our machines. But we can't, so we are dealing with this head on."
[Editor's Note: For background information on this threat, Ars Technica has coverage here, here, here, and here.]
Hm.. good point.. to continue the car analogy, it is advised to first take your child out of the car before you bring the latter to the garage for recall. Unfortunately your computer doesn't protest as loudly when you bring it back to the shop where you bought it.
And one of the first things you'd want to do with a new computer is put all the stuff from the old computer on it, so what you describe is probably quite common.
So what's the solution? Some local company that specializes in trusted wiping of computers? (Fee to be sent to Lenovo) and then return it to the retailer?
The solution was pointed out in my first reply. Maybe re-read that?
Remove the malware, and get on with your life.
Well if we're going to be statists about the thing, the recall could simply instruct consumers on how to remove their hard-drives. I don't know how difficult that would be on the affected models, but on my ThinkPad it's about as difficult as swapping out batteries on a normal consumer device. You'll need a screwdriver, but it's a world of difference from trying to wipe the thing clean before returning it. Let Lenovo eat the cost of not getting their hard-drives back.