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Computer Manufacturer Faces Lawsuits After Preloading Laptops with Spyware

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Computer manufacturer Lenovo has admitted that it preinstalled spyware on 43 models of its laptops, and angry customers are firing back with lawsuits.

The spyware in question is the “Superfish” software – an Internet browser add-on that causes ads to pop up on your screen when you visit websites. According to CNN Money, the software tampers with a widely used system of official website certificates, making it difficult for computers to recognize bogus websites.

Lenovo originally said it preloaded Superfish “on some consumer notebook products shipped in a short window between October and December,” but customers began complaining about the imposition in September. This past Thursday, Lenovo admitted that it had preloaded 43 models of its laptops with Superfish starting in September, and said it would not do it again in the future. The company also said it disabled the feature on its servers, which essentially kills the program on users’ computers, CNN Money reported.

Lenovo said the purpose of the installations was to help customers save money online:

“The relationship with Superfish is not financially significant; our goal was to enhance the experience for users,” the company said in a statement viewed by CNN Money. “We recognize that the software did not meet that goal and have acted quickly and decisively.”

“They have not only betrayed their customers’ trust, but also put them at increased risk,” Ken Westin, a security analyst with software maker Tripwire explained to CNN Money.

This might be only the beginning of problems for the Chinese firm. A lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of California last week by a woman who claims her Internet use was tracked by the Superfish software, which invaded her privacy and damaged her computer. The woman, who works as a blogger, alleges she was writing a blog post on a client’s website when she noticed ads featuring “scantily clad women” popping up. The same thing occurred later on, when the blogger was working on a different site. At that point, she realized her computer was infected by some type of spyware, according to CNET.com.

The Plaintiff is seeking class action status and jury trial, charges Lenovo with the following in her suit, which was obtained by CNET.COM:

“Defendants’ Spyware and popup advertisements decrease productivity by requiring that hours be spent figuring out how to get them off of a computer, closing advertising windows, and waiting for a slower machine to operate. Furthermore, computer users are forced to keep their computers running longer (due to the slowed performance) which utilizes more electricity, decreases the useful life of a computer, and causes increased Internet access charges. The cumulative impact of not only multiple ads, but also the threat of future ads and monitoring, impedes computer usage.”

breakinglawsuitnews.com disclaimer: This article: Computer Manufacturer Faces Lawsuits After Preloading Laptops with Spyware was posted on Friday, February 27th, 2015 at 1:54 pm at breakinglawsuitnews.com and is filed under Fraud Lawsuits.

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