Posted on September 8, 2017 at 5:29 PM
A few years ago, the well-known technological company Lenovo, with their main headquarters located in Beijing, have found themselves in trouble. The trouble was created because the company has installed a Visual Discovery adware (developed by Superfish), on a great number of their laptops.
The installed software endangered the personal data and security of the laptop users. The software performed the so called – man in the middle- hacker attack, which violated private and safe connections and gave the possibility for the cyber criminals to spy on personal communication.
Although Lenovo has created a tool, designed to remove the damaging adware, it was still sued and had to defend itself in the court. The court battle lasted for more than 2.5 years, and as the final result, Lenovo was forced to pay a compensation of 3.5 million dollars and sign an agreement with the Federal State of the US and 31 states. Moreover, the company guaranteed to change the way they sell their technological devices.
FTC issued the agreement statement:
Now Lenovo is prohibited from mispresenting the features of their technological devices and remove the software which injects advertising, or any other type of customer sensitive information into their laptops and internet browsing sessions.
The company is also obliged to ask for the customers’ consent before pre-installing such types of software. The implementation will be controlled by third parties. Lenovo’s response was that the company was unaware of the exploiting of the adware by third parties. All in all, the company agreed to pay the fine, 3.5 million dollars, and close the court case. Furthermore, the company stated that from now on they will not include pre-installed software of such type.
In August 2014 Lenovo has pre-installed software which included automatic pop-up ads. The software blocked the internet browser notifications which warned not to visit dangerous webpages. The adware was capable of stealing personal information, such as social security number, private credentials, thus compromising the privacy of the users.
The software could easily gain access to private information of the consumers without their consent. FTC also noted that the data was not delivered to the company which initially created the adware (Superfish).
The main targeting group which was damaged by the adware are young individuals with low-income. More than 750.000 people suffered from the software. Everybody in the chain should be attentive to the installed software, both entrepreneurs, and customers. It may create many risks and violate the privacy of the users, and even affect the work of tech giants like Lenovo.