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Lenovo’s security debacle reveals blurred boundary between adware and malware

Buchanan, William J



A widely disliked habit of PC vendors is their bundling of all manner of unwanted software into brand new computers – demo software, games, or part-functional trials. Faced with shrinking margins vendors have treated this as an alternative income stream, going so far as to include adware that generates revenue through monitoring users' surfing habits, for example. While some software such as virus scanners can be useful, Lenovo, the world’s biggest computer seller, has discovered just how badly it can backfire when including insufficiently tested – or just plain malicious – software. With vendors often doing little in the way of due diligence, third-party software can include those with backdoors, or which could present privacy problems, or contain ways to trick users into paying for subscriptions. More often the focus is on pushing content and advertising, based on tracking user’s web browsing habits, or targeted marketing, where search results from trusted sites such as Google are tampered with before they’re presented to the user.

Publication Date Feb 24, 2015
Deposit Date Aug 14, 2015
Publicly Available Date May 15, 2017
Keywords Cybersecurity; computer programming and sofware; malware; Lenovo
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