Once Again,Pre-installed Spyware Found on Lenovo Laptops

A manufactory refurbished Thinkpad shipped with Windows 7 and a scheduler app that ran once daily, aggregating usage information regarding what you are doing along with your pc And exfiltrating it to an analytics company.

The fact that this was happening was buried deep within the user "agreement" that came with the machine.

This is the third preloaded spyware scandal to hit Lenovo this year: Initially it had been caught putting in Superfish, that grossly compromised user security by putting in a man-in-the-middle certificate into the OS system; then it got caught loading immortal, self-reinstalling crapware into a part of the BIOS reserved for custom drivers.

This latest scandal is especially noteworthy as a result of it impinges on Thinkpads, the rock-solid portable computer brand the Co. acquired from IBM.

But this kind of appalling behavior speaks to a serious defalcation in the company's management and calls into question the whole firm's policy and approach toward its customers.

The 21st century quip has it that if you are not paying for the product, you are the product. But with Lenovo machines this year, it looks that even though you're paying for the product, you are still the product.

The task that gave me pause is termed "Lenovo Customer Feedback Program 64". It had been running daily. As per the description in the task scheduler: "This task uploads Client's Feedback Program information to Lenovo".

The program that runs daily is Lenovo.TVT.CustomerFeedback.Agent.exe and it resides in folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Lenovo\Customer Feedback Program.

Other files in the folder were Lenovo.TVT.CustomerFeedback.Agent.exe.config, Lenovo.TVT.CustomerFeedback.InnovApps.dll and Lenovo.TVT.CustomerFeedback.OmnitureSiteCatalyst.dll.

According to Wikipedia, Omniture is an internet marketing and web analytics company, and SiteCatalyst (since renamed) is their software package as a service utilization for client-side web analytics.

So, whereas there might not be additional ads on ThinkPads, there's something keeping an eye on and tracking.

On the one hand this can be shocking as a result of the machines were refurbished and sold by IBM. On the other hand, considering Lenovo's recent history, it is not shocking in any respect.

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