Lenovo Installing Immortal Crapware

Once again Lenovo is caught shipping PCs with dangerous crapware.–PC Pitstop

Lenovo Installing Immortal Crapware

by Bob Rankin

Lenovo has again been caught playing fast and loose with customers’ privacy and security. First, it was Superfish. Now, it’s vulnerable crapware that won’t go away, even if you reformat or replace your hard drive. Read on for the full story…

Lenovo Strikes (out) Again

In February of this year, I described how computer maker Lenovo was shipping laptops with adware that puts all of your Web browsing sessions at risk of hacking. Just as the furor over Superfish died down, Lenovo has been caught doing something even more egregious.

In 2011, Microsoft added a feature to Windows called Windows Platform Binary Table (WPBT). It allows computer vendors like Lenovo to store software in a PC’s firmware and inject it into the Windows system files upon startup. Such software is practically undetectable and “immortal.”

Reformatting or even replacing a hard drive will have no effect on software stored in firmware. In addition, software stored in firmware cannot be detected by ordinary anti-malware programs.

That’s because firmware resides on a chip on the computer’s motherboard, and not the hard drive. It cannot be erased without flashing the firmware ROM, an operation normally done only to update the system BIOS.
WPBT is intended to make computers more secure. Computer makers have the ability to embed security and license-verification software in firmware, where it cannot be erased by a virus or software pirate. But Lenovo went a step further than Microsoft intended.

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20 thoughts on “Lenovo Installing Immortal Crapware”

  1. I purchased SparkTrust PC Cleaner Plus today and now it seems I cannot do anything without it constantly telling me that I have to purchase backup or lose my data. This to me is like being held up and I don't appreciate it at all.

  2. While the Lenovo brand came into existence only in 2004, the company has a much longer history. In 1984, Legend Holdings was formed with 200,000 RMB (US$25,000) in a guard house in China. The company was incorporated in Hong Kong in 1988 and would grow to be the largest PC company in China. Legend Holdings changed its name to Lenovo in 2004 and, in 2005, acquired the former Personal Computer Division of IBM, the company that invented the PC industry in 1981. Lenovo is incorporated and headquartered in Hong Kong, with operational centers around the world, the largest ones being in Beijing and Morrisville.

    1. @Wayne Peterkin:

      If you’re used to Windows interface, you’d be better off with Linux Mint. Test it out on a USB drive– it’s free & absolutely amazing. Been an ardent supporter now since 2010! 😉

  3. Mr. Rankin and Mr. Cheng,
    Thank you both for this information.
    I'll be renewing my PC Matic subscription in a day or too.
    Keep up the good work Gentlemen. 🙂

  4. sorry but no. lenovo STARTED in china, bejing to be exact, but prodution has been moved to whitsett, n carolina since january. so, how does it feel to know that everyone who buys a lenovo is being diddled by an american company.

  5. I bought a Lenvono laptop about six months ago to update/replace an older Toshiba. This comment is being typed on the Toshiba and I gave the Lenvono away. What a piece of crap.

  6. Last month I bought a Dell Inspiron laptop from Microsoft. NO added software whatsoever and I got it on sale. Not that I don’t enjoy the challenge of cleaning a new PC – I do it for my friends who don’t listen to me. 🙂

  7. I recently bought a recent but used Lenovo Ideapad to replace my older HP. After 2 months of use the battery quitt recharging and then the computer went dead completely shortly after where the power cord doesn’t work. From their web site it appears that I will need to pay $100 minimum to get tech help in order to find out if there is even a fix to get the computer running again.

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