back to article So long, Lenovo, and no thanks for all the super-creepy Superfish

Chinese PC maker Lenovo has published instructions on how to scrape off the Superfish adware it installed on its laptops – but still bizarrely insists it has done nothing wrong. That's despite rating the severity of the deliberate infection as "high" on its own website. Well played, Lenonope. Superfish was bundled on new …

Anonymous Coward

the fire rises

Give Acer/ASUS a try, BURN LENOPEVO

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Anonymous Coward

"Give Acer/ASUS a try, BURN LENOPEVO"

Asus???? Mmh, must respectfully disagree! Their netbooks were wonderful, but their gaming rigs and high-end media laptops aren't as great... (Hardware display issues causing NVIDIA card + Asus laptop to hang)...

+1 Comment by Reg man Iain Thomson

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Boffin

Re: the fire rises

Maybe ASUS. But Acer isn't going to see my money, I got burned enough back in 2011 with crappy Acer laptops. Nevermore!

Still, neither will see my money as long as they sell Win8-only laptops. I'm not going to pay for the worst MS OS ever concieved.

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Re: the fire rises

win 8 the "...worst MS OS ever conceived"? Only if you disregard Win 98 ME Win CE (pronounced wince in our office) or vista. Un-crapwarering consumer machines from all manufacturers phones upwards, is necessary before use. only Arduino boards escapes the extraction process... Hang on what's that screen printed in 3 point next to A0... pass me the emery board

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Re: the fire rises

WinCE is like Highlander 2. We just don't talk about it.

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Re: the fire rises

I used to like Asus kit for a long time - right up to the point where I found out the hard way that their warranty related customer service is by far the worst in the industry and in some cases outright in breach of consumer protection laws.

Lenovo permanently lost me as a customer about 2 minutes after I unboxed my Lenovo Y50-70 with the supposed 4K screen - when I discovered that it is a shitty pentile pseudo-4K screen than only has HALF of the number of subpixels that it should, making everything in "4K" look like it was printed on an '80s era dot matrix printer.

The problem is increasingly that all manufacturers (except maybe Apple) are rapidly racing to the bottom and finding a piece of kit that is genuinely good is becoming increasingly difficult.

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Re: "Give Acer/ASUS a try, BURN LENOPEVO"

After a couple of really bad experiences of terrible build quality and even worse customer service, Asus will never see a penny from me again.

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Silver badge

Re: the fire rises

"Give Acer/ASUS a try, BURN LENOPEVO"

Sitting here trying to fix the girlfriend's ASUS laptop that can with so much crap that I couldn't physically get rid of, and now watching CHKDSK take a few hours to find all the bad sectors on the hard drive too.

No. But OK, so no Lenovo, no ASUS, I tried Acer once, who is left? This Samsung laptop I'm able to use because it doesn't have bad blocks isn't bad, but was fearsomely expensive.

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Re: the fire rises

"No. But OK, so no Lenovo, no ASUS, I tried Acer once, who is left?"

I have had no problems with MSI.

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Re: the fire rises

One thing I noted when looking at the list of affected models, there is a lack of any of the business class models on that list.

Personally, the only Lenovo laptops that are/were worth buying are the business class machines in the first place. My own preference is for the T series laptops, which I've had a couple of, and numerous friends own and use them as well.

Once you get beyond that, or downgrade to the Ideapads (shudder) you are away from the original durable and reliable IP that they bought the whole brand from IBM for.

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>>Lenovo won’t be getting another cent of my PC budget from now on.

Absolutely right. They won't be getting a single damned dime from me either. I don't really like Dell but I'll probably be getting whatever their business class laptop range is nowadays next time. You don't reward bad behavior if you want it to stop.

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Silver badge

One good thing about Dell's business laptops (ie Latitudes or Precisions), they're supremely easy to open up to upgrade or replace components. There didn't used to be much crapware installed either, but I'm not sure if that's the case today (as soon as the laptop comes in it gets a fresh install from WDS).

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My work laptop is a Dell, and while I could name a few brain-dead design failures it suffers from,1 it's serviceable.

And Dell's the only manufacturer I know of besides Lenovo that still sells machines with isometric "pointing stick" mice. I hate touchpads, so that's a must-have for me. (If anyone knows offhand of other brands that have 'em I wouldn't mind hearing about it.)

So yes, I expect that when my current Lenovo personal laptop needs replacement, I too will be going with Dell. It's sad; I've had a range of Thinkpads dating from the first year IBM came out with them. And I had some of IBM's earlier laptops and luggables - like the PS/Note - before that.

1As has every single Dell machine I've ever seen - is there something in the water there? Bizarre case-opening mechanisms. Reset buttons without mollyguards positioned right next to drive-eject buttons. Lousy power connectors. The latest laptop has a blue LED on the power cord that shines with the glare of 1000 suns and isn't affected by the (otherwise very nice) turn-off-every-single-goddamned-light hotkey. Soon I will simply give up and wrap the fucker with electrical tape.

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@ Michael Wojcik Dell not unbreakable but....

...at least easy to break up.

Older Dell laptops were bulletproof construction-wise. Later models not quite so -- issues with keyboard mechanics (who approved that ultra-fragile butterfly mechanism under the laptop keycaps ?) and power connector burning out.

However, I was charmed by the ease of dis-assembly of the two (Irish built) heavily used D505 and D510 series models I recently took on. With luck a third will turn up and I'll be able to build one that actually fully works.

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IMHO, we must make the best of a bad situation. Please, wipe the hard drive of any new purchase, including overwriting the MBR/GPT, and perform a fresh install of an OS. There simply are no vendors selling anything that does not include bloatware, at the least, if not malware. This is not new.

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Black Helicopters

thank you Rob Graham

For an elegant demonstration we are not paranoid enough...

P.

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FAIL

"Superfish wasn't a major contributor to the manufacturer's bottom line"

This begs the question; why do it then?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Superfish wasn't a major contributor to the manufacturer's bottom line"

Why indeed?

I fancy Superfish will be a major contributor to the manufacturer's bottom line, but in a negative sense. And serves them bloody-well right.

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Re: "Superfish wasn't a major contributor to the manufacturer's bottom line"

That's not a problem. Now THIS is a problem.

Seriously, if a corporate CTO can claim with a straight face that there's no security problem...they do deserve all the ridicule they're getting, and a good punch in the wallet.

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Re: "Superfish wasn't a major contributor to the manufacturer's bottom line"

"This begs the question; why do it then?"

For the same reason that most consumer laptops come loaded with crapware, that the OEM picked up a tiny payment for each piece of unrequested bloat, but which was from their perspective was pure, unadulterated profit. In the commoditised PC market, every little counts.

The hogged sectors on the disk were free (the buyer paid for that), the hogged CPU cycles were free (the buyer just had to wait a bit longer), the hogged RAM was free (again the buyer had to wait longer). We all know that the board of Lenovo won't sit round deciding what this months suite of bloatware includes, so the decision to include Superfish would have been taken by some middle manager (at best), probably in the commercial (as opposed to technical) side of the business - marketing, if you like.

However, Lenovo's misfortune won't change practice elsewhere, and you can expect the other makers to continue to shift their wares laden with unrequested crapware, and sooner of later this sorry tale will repeat. It's a bit like the long and continuing saga of data breaches - every month the wolves have another victim, but the corporate herd mere look on and laugh as their fellow is shredded, and then continue to lumber along, slow and stupidly doing what they always did.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Superfish wasn't a major contributor to the manufacturer's bottom line"

"This begs the question; why do it then?"

The oldest reason in the world; overarching greed for the last ounce of profit trumps a diminishing amount of common sense.

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Silver badge

Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

California USA is already "sue happy" with reguards to shit as lowball as being served a cup of hot coffee from McDonalds, so having your computer manufacturer preload the machine with a verified security risk that facilitated ID Theft? Oh yeah, Lenovo is going to get nailed to a wall by it's scrotum & used like a piñata at a Chav's birthday party.

I'll go get the popcorn if someone else will bring the lawn chairs...

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Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

They better be more worried about the shareholder lawsuits because they are admitting there is very little upside to this and they are about to see a whole lot of downside.

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Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

They are based in the Peoples Republic of China -- I doubt they have such a thing as shareholder lawsuits.

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Silver badge

Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

And California probably can't touch them because of them being in China.

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Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

The Woman with the McDonald's coffee had third degree burns on her thighs and genitals, she had to have multiple skin grafts. That is not "sue Happy" that was justice. Google it, photos of the skin grafts are online........

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Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

California USA is already "sue happy" with reguards to shit as lowball as being served a cup of hot coffee from McDonalds

Bad example for a frivolous lawsuit; coffee so hot that it causes third-degree burns is a real hazard.

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Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

Selling a dangerous liquid to someone who did not know about hot liquids was a dereliction of a duty of care. Which UK care home or hospital managed that McDonalds site again?

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Paris Hilton

Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

The Woman with the McDonald's coffee had third degree burns on her thighs and genitals

McDonalds now serves lava? Probably not in polystyrene cups.

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Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

Quick check of the Wikipedia page, they were serving the coffee at 82C at the drive through, which is hot enough to cause third degree burns in 12 to 15 seconds, so that it would stay hot until people got home. The jury found that the woman was partially to blame, but the fact that McDonalds admitted they were selling coffee at a temperature which wouldn't be safe to drink meant that they held the majority of the blame (the compensation was adjusted based on the balance of blame)

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This post has been deleted by its author

McDonalds now serves lava? Probably not in polystyrene cups.

Nope, it's in the Apple Pies.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

You need to see the HBO film 'Hot Coffee' to get the truth about the McDonald's incident. After viewing it you'll change your mind about it. The truth has been twisted and spun out to make McD look like the victim. Lenovo will use the same PR outfit to sway pubic opinion.

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Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

Coffee is served at around 100C in my house as that's the temperature it leaves the kettle after it's finished boiling. Unless in the US water miraculously boils at lower temperatures I suspect it's the same over there too. Whole thing is a sad indictment of both the US education and legal systems.

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Re: McDonalds now serves lava? Probably not in polystyrene cups.

Damn right, those things should be used to ignite fusion reactors.

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Pint

Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

"Coffee is served at around 100C in my house..."

You're doing it wrong.

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Headmaster

Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

Water boils at lower temperatures at high altitude. Much of New Mexico is about 2000m, where it would boil at 93C

Sorry, but no icon for a pedantic science nazi

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Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

You're an idiot.

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Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

"You're an idiot."

I think it's actually "your an idiot".

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Boffin

@ Cowboy Bob -- Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

Unless in the US water miraculously boils at lower temperatures I suspect it's the same over there too

Uhhh, Bob? Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the original incident occurred, has an elevation of 5312 ft. above sea level. (Up in the Heights, to the east of the airport, the elevation goes up to over 6100 ft.) At those altitudes, water actually does boil at a temperature below 100C

Something about keeping quiet, and being thought a fool, as opposed to opening one's mouth and erasing all doubt, comes to mind. You might wanna consider that.

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Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

They would most likely be sued in East Texas District as that's the preferred place for lawsuits based on ease of filing and likelihood of winning.

Think patent trolls.

They can be sued as long as it can be proved they have a "presence" in the district. If I can buy it I can prove presence.

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Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

Actually it is "You are an idiot", which can be abreviated as "You're an idiot" which you are.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

That's a 'whoosh' right there

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Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

Third degree burns on her thighs and genitals.SKIN grafts. Stop protecting McDonalds. They were super heating the coffee so it would stay hot for carry out. It was going out boiling.

10 thumbs down, really? Look at this. contains a photo. Look at these burns and tell me again.

https://harmfuldruginfocenter.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/are-our-rights-preserved-hot-coffee-review/

She had ten thousand dollars in medical bills. McDonald's offered her $800

This was from that Hot Coffee. Don't look if if you have a weak stomach. How hot does it have to be to do this?

https://harmfuldruginfocenter.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/mcdonalds.jpg

http://www.civil-injustice.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/stella1.png

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Holmes

Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

Stop protecting McDonalds.

I you can't handle the heat, don't drink coffee at McDonald's.

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Re: Cue the ClassAction lawsuits in 3... 2... 1...

Disclaimer on a coffee cup: "Warning! Our coffee is so delicious that it may cause an addiction. Oh, and it's hot, too."

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Anonymous Coward

They shot themselves in the head

Metaphorically speaking. Lenovo is finished. It's just a matter of time. Even were everyone up the chain from the responsible team to the CEO were to resign, they won't recover.

It's also quite possible that "bloatware-free" will become a selling point for manufacturers, especially if Microsoft finally steps in and changes their licensing to prohibit it (which they might just do, given predictions of a declining market for PCs and the continued damage to their reputation from a continued parade of exploits).

Lenovo's newly acquired server business (from IBM) may also suffer, as discounts on laptop and desktop machines are often used as a sweetener in enterprise server hardware agreements. That whole tie-in strategy could well become a millstone around the neck of server sales, which will accompany Lenovo's business down into the depths.

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Re: They shot themselves in the head

"bloatware-free"

Let us bow our heads and let our hair - those of us with hair of course; if your mien has floppy tentacles that's okay too - dangle toward our keyboards while we psychically project this thought upon an aetheric trajectory to light the minds of those who build and market the machines for our consumption.

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Silver badge

Re: They shot themselves in the head

It is unlikely the Server side of Lenovo will suffer from the Consumer laptops being infected with a security threat on par with the Sony Rootkit debaucle. Enterprise/Corporate purchasers don't buy the Consumer versions of the laptops, they buy the Business versions, and if you're buying Lenovo Servers then you've got the cash to tell Lenovo *EXACTLY* what software gets installed on those 1,500 new laptops you'll be acquiring.

Business grade laptops purchased in your typical corporate purchase schema don't get a lot of cruft slapped on them, primarily because the people doing the buying have the power to say "Loo, that program is crap. Don't include it or we'll take this purchase order somewhere else." If you're looking at a slip of paper potentially worth a million bucks in a single purchase order, you bend over backwards to make the customer happy so they'll give that paper/money to you rather than your competition.

The Average Joe on the street buying a Consumer grade machine as a single unit purchase doesn't have the power that a Corporation with a million dollar purchase on the line does, so Average Joe gets the security flaws while the Corporation gets what they want, only what they want, and not a bit nor byte more.

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Re: They shot themselves in the head

Average Joe probably won't find the problem and if he does find it, he probably won't be making another purchase for five years or so anyway.

Personally, I'd take the money and run. There will be sales on Lenovo kit and all the Linux guys will be happy to pick them up. As will anyone with an MSDN account.

No-one does a clean install? That policy may cost you. It would have cost you before (being phished), it will probably cost you in the future (you pc may be more expensive). It will certainly cost Lenovo, but I don't think I'll let it cost me.

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