Chinese computer giant Lenovo took a knock to its public image, as the company was accused of pre-installing a potentially malicious software into its consumer products.
Dubbed Superfish, the adware essentially scans visual images on the web to provide customers with information on cheap products. In other words, the software bombards consumers with unwanted advertisements and browser pop-ups.
Perhaps more worryingly is that the adware can act as malware and intercept personal data if the user accesses a public Wi-Fi network. This could include compromising information like online banking passwords.
The Lenovo discussion forum page is riddled with user complaints about problems with Superfish. One user wrote the “Superfish application will hijack all your secure web connections by using self signed root certificate authority, making it look legitimate to the browser. I have requested return of the laptop and refund as I find it unbelievable that manufacturer as Lenovo would facilitate such applications pre-bundled with new laptop.”
Superfish received negative feedback as early as October 2014. The company has since stopped the inclusion of Superfish in its Lenovo laptops and has released detailed instructions on its online forums to teach existing Lenovo owners how to remove the application.
Lenovo has tried to reduce the public damage – “Superfish was preloaded on to a select number of consumer models only,” the company told the BBC in a statement. “Lenovo is thoroughly investigating all and any new concerns raised regarding Superfish.”
In its February 3 earnings report, Lenovo announced it had shipped 16 million PCs in the 4th quarter of 2014 alone.
The Apple smartwatch will be released in April and the tech giant is readying for the launch. The company has ordered five to six million units of three different watch models from its suppliers in Asia, according to reports.
The three models are the entry level sport model (accounting for about half of the production), the mid-tier model, and the high end watch with 18-karat gold casing, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Sport model will begin at $349 while no price has been set on the top tier watch.
The company’s initial vision for the device as primarily a health outfit was compromised when the company was forced to remove certain features for being nonfunctional or overly complex. The watch will not yet be the advanced health tool that it was initially slated to be, but the company is still enthusiastic about its revolutionary impact.
“What we want to do at Apple, that’s our objective: We want to change the way you live your life,” CEO Tim Cook said, speaking at a Goldman Sachs conference last week. “And just like this iPad has changed the way you work, and hopefully the way you live, and the iPhone has done that, we see the Apple Watch doing that.”
The Great Bank Robbery
A new report by Kaspersky Lab, a computer security firm, revealed this week that $1 billion has been stolen in a mass cyber robbery that has been ongoing since 2013. The reports suggest that up to 100 banks and financial institutions across 30 countries have been robbed by a cyber criminal gang with members from Russia, Ukraine, and China.
The New York Times reports that the gang is named the Carbanak cybergang, after the malware they use to compromise financial institutions. The Kaspersky report, entitled “The Great Bank Robbery” sheds light on a more sophisticated form of online cyber attacks, where “malicious users steal money directly from banks and avoid targeting end users,” the firm said.
The Moscow-based firm is working directly with U.S. authorities and Interpol and Europol to further the investigation.
“These attacks again underline the fact that criminals will exploit any vulnerability in any system,” Interpol Digital Crime Center director Sanjay Virmani said. “It also highlights the fact that no sector can consider itself immune to attack and must constantly address their security procedures.”
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