Marc Rogers (white hat hacker and principal security researcher for Cloudflare) wrote about an interesting problem Lenovo users have. (see article)
What is not clear is how long Lenovo has been doing this. The good news is that a friend of Marc’s has created a test to see if your Lenovo laptop is infected.
The short version is this. Lenovo has partnered with a company named superfish to serve up ads to and steal data from your laptop. They do this by creating a man in the middle attack inside your laptop – submitting fake SSL certificates to your bank (or any other site) and reflecting the data back to you. If you look at the SSL certificate, which no one does, it is signed by Superfish, not your bank.
They did this by installing a SSL signing certificate in the certificate store that has God power and use that to generate certificates on the fly for any web site that you visit. That requires that the password for this certificate is hard coded into the software on your laptop and that password is Komodia – for every laptop they sell. Komodia is the name of a company that makes SSL software. Not so secure.
The site that Marc’s friend created to test for the Superfish malware is:
If you are infected, Lenovo has created instructions for removing the superfish software, the link for which is in Marc’s blog post above. However, that removal does not remove the God like certificate in the computer and Marc has additional instructions to do that.
A smarter move, given we have no idea what other ‘bugs’ are hidden in the software, would be to wipe the disk and reinstall the software from a known good version of Windows (NOT the one that came with the laptop) and then reinstall all the applications and finally restore your data.
China has been getting rid of Cisco network gear because they say that they can’t trust it.
It is time for the U.S. to get rid of Lenovo computers for the same reason. If you want to understand how really dangerous what Lenovo did is, you will need to read Marc’s blog, but for those of you who are not techies, trust me (and Marc) – it is pretty serious.
But here is the real question – they got caught doing this. What else are the Chinese doing? I took Lenovo off my buy list as soon as IBM sold it to the Chinese. I get to be vindicated now – we have real evidence.
If you need help, feel free to contact me.