Those who own a Lenovo which is 3 years old should know that their laptop has been secretly giving out information on what your browsing habits have been. It seems that these visual data were used for advertising.
The Beijing Company has been aware or unaware of invading customer privacy
Maureen Ohlhausen, FTC chairman announced in a teleconference that 750,000 Lenovo Laptops that have been on the market between August 2014 and June 2015 had a program (Visual Discovery) which was the intermediary between the user’s browser and the websites they would visit.
Visual Discovery Spyware
The software which was created by Palo Alto (SuperFish firm, from California) and it was able to browse and intercept a user’s mail by easily reading and re-sealing that mail.
Visual Discovery would help users finding what you need and search that for you based on the images you browsed. This way, instead of using keywords, the soft would be image based.
But the soft kept its eyes on too many things, such as personal information: Social Security numbers, bank account information, log in credentials and e-mails. The software would put users to risk if you landed on a spoofed website.
Maureen Ohlhausen advised all computer companies to pay more attention to the software provided by contractors who might be up to doing more harm than good. This way such a large computer manufacturer has put to risk their customers.
Uber and TaxSlayer Users Risk their Privacy and Personal Data
Other software programs that have violated customer privacy are Uber and TaxSlayer. Both softs would have access to sensitive information such as driver’s license numbers (for Uber) and tax information and Social Security numbers (for TaxSlayer). All three software: Uber, TaxSlayer and Visual Discovery had a conduct which put users’ information and privacy at risk.
Which Lenovo Models Have Been Affected
The laptops are in the low price range, targeting either young users or low-income users.Here is the list of brands that have been affected by the Visual Discovery soft: E-Series, Edge Series, Flex-Series, G-Series, Miix Series, S-Series, U-Series, Y-Series, Yoga Series, and Z-Series.
The company has been fined and must pay $3.5 million to 32 states
Lenovo has a web page with ‘Superfish Uninstall Instructions’, adding that until now they haven’t heard of actual intermediary software to have gained access to user information.