Computers, these days, have a problem. You might have noticed this — the fact that Windows 10 doesn’t come with a DVD player, which you might want, but does come with a desktop version of Candy Crush, which you probably don’t. There are other examples, weird little things that come pre-installed on a new device, such as CD burners and weather apps and Internet Explorer. Unless you are someone’s grandparent, you’ll never actually use these things, because you use Chrome instead, the weather is on your phone, and who still uses CDs? These junk programs are referred to as bloatware, and if you are the least bit computer-savvy, you’ll probably delete or disable them instantly. That is, unless you have purchased a new laptop from Lenovo, which has decided that bloatware is GREAT.
Lenovo has taken advantage of a feature in Windows 10 allowing manufacturers to embed software onto computers at the BIOS level. What this means is that you could take a new Lenovo computer and completely uninstall the operating system, then reinstall a “clean” version of Windows, containing none of those weird little manufacturer add-ons. However, this BIOS exploit can force your computer to reinstall all of that bloatware as soon as you turn it back on. Think of it like an obnoxious ex-boyfriend who keeps showing up at your house.
What’s more, this isn’t even Lenovo’s first misstep with regard to bloatware. In late 2014, Lenovo began shipping new PCs with a program called Superfish. This software was fairly shady in its own right, as it was designed to shove unasked-for advertising into your Google search results. Even better, this program included a faulty code library that contained a broken certificate. In other words, if you were browsing the internet with Superfish on your computer, an attacker could make you think you were visiting a secure website and then harvest all the passwords and personally identifying information that you would normally enter there.
You’d think that one such incident would make Lenovo wary of installing crap on its user’s computers, but apparently not. While instructions exist to remove and permanently disable this BIOS exploit, my advice would be to simply stop buying computers that come “pre-hacked.”
[Post image via Shutterstock]