If Lenovo pre-installing spyware on their last generation of machines wasn’t enough, they’re back in the news again, and for yet again the same thing, selling machines with pre-installed spyware. The Chinese technology conglomerate has been caught installing a piece of software on a number of refurbished notebooks that is automatically programmed to send user feedback data to Lenovo servers. However, upon further inspection of this seemingly-harmless software, a third-marketing and web analytic firm is behind it.
As per many user reports, the company ships all factory refurbished laptops with a program called “Lenovo Customer Feedback Program 64,” which is programmed to run every day. According to the Chinese computer company, Lenovo Customer Feedback Program 64 “uploads Customer Feedback Program data to Lenovo.”
When analyzing the program, Michael Horowitz of Computerworld found specific software files in the folder of the customer feedback program labeled: “Lenovo.TVT.CustomerFeedback.Agent.exe.config, Lenovo.TVT.CustomerFeedback.InnovApps.dll, and Lenovo.TVT.CustomerFeedback.OmnitureSiteCatalyst.dll.” Horowitz continued, adding that Omniture, as mentioned in one of the .dll files, is an online marketing and web analytic firm owned by Adobe, suggesting the laptops are heavily tracking and monitoring user activity.
Lenovo, the largest PC vendor in the market added on its support website that their line of machines may include software components that automatically communicate with their servers through the Internet. These line of applications could presumably be found on every ThinkCentre, ThinkStation, and ThinkPad machine. As per the company website, Lenovo listed a couple of the applications that can be found installed on their line of machines, including Lenovo.TVT.CustomerFeedback.Agent.exe.config.
As we pointed out earlier, this isn’t the first time Lenovo has been caught shipping machines with what appears to be pre-installed spyware monitoring customers, it isn’t even the company’s second time. Earlier this year Lenovo was caught shipping machines with a pre-installed piece of software dubbed SuperFish. The software compromised the machines encryption certificate to quietly inject more advertisements into websites. Then again in August, Lenovo was caught secretly downloading and installing software on their Windows PCs. The program would modify the BIOS to force the computer to download its program upon each login.
It’s been a bad year for Lenovo, especially since this is a directly the company’s fault and could have been avoided at all costs.