If any of your marine computers are newer Lenovo laptops, I’ve got some urgent news for you. Bloomberg Business reported on February 19 that Lenovo Group Ltd. has admitted to pre-installing software on some of their laptops that could detrimentally affect users.
Specifically, the software could allow unauthorized individuals to monitor your computer activity. It could also expose your marine computers to attacks by hackers.
How did this happen? Did a rogue software developer penetrate Lenovo’s headquarters and sneak malware onto its laptops?
No. According to an article by Bloomberg’s Jordan Robertson, Lenovo partnered with a company called Superfish, which developed the software in order to, “monitor Web behavior and suggest advertisements based on images that a user might be viewing.”
In his article, Roberston says, “the technology used by Superfish essentially breaks the encryption between Web browsers and banking, e-commerce and other sites that handle sensitive information, potentially exposing machines to hacking.”
An article by Jose Pagliery of CCN Money adds that, “besides taking up space in your Lenovo computer, the add-on is also dangerous because it undermines basic computer security protocols. That's because it tampers with a widely-used system of official website certificates. That makes it hard for your computer to recognize a fake bank website, for instance.”
Which Lenovo computers are affected by Superfish?
According to the Lenovo Statement on Superfish, the following laptop models were affected:
Superfish may have appeared on these models:
G Series: G410, G510, G710, G40-70, G50-70, G40-30, G50-30, G40-45, G50-45, G40-80
U Series: U330P, U430P, U330Touch, U430Touch, U530Touch
Y Series: Y430P, Y40-70, Y50-70, Y40-80, Y70-70
Z Series: Z40-75, Z50-75, Z40-70, Z50-70, Z70-80
S Series: S310, S410, S40-70, S415, S415Touch, S435, S20-30, S20-30Touch
Flex Series: Flex2 14D, Flex2 15D, Flex2 14, Flex2 15, Flex2 Pro, Flex 10
MIIX Series: MIIX2-8, MIIX2-10, MIIX2-11, MIIX 3 1030
YOGA Series: YOGA2Pro-13, YOGA2-13, YOGA2-11, YOGA3 Pro
E Series: E10-30
Edge Series: Lenovo Edge 15
Maintaining your Lenovo superyacht computer security.
So what can you do to keep your vessel’s Lenovo laptops safe from hackers and unauthorized monitors?
First, if you have a Lenovo laptop listed above, you can remove the Superfish malware from your computer using Lenovo’s Superfish Uninstall Instructions.
But Jose Pagliery suggests that “to be completely safe, you might have to reinstall a fresh new operating system. Lenovo customers have already paid for Windows in their laptops, so they will have to shell out another $120 for a copy of Windows 8.1.”
Let Great Circle Systems help you maintain your vessel’s computer security.
The GCS Technology Team has been maintaining and securing marine computer systems since 2000. We can analyze your situation, implement solutions, and monitor your vessel’s computer systems remotely, regardless of your location.
Andy is Chief Technical Officer of Great Circle Systems. He specializes in maritime Internet communications, vessel network design and integration, and superyacht remote support and administration. Andy received a BS in Computer Science from the University of California.
He has over 30 years of professional experience in software design and development and information technology management.
When not working on yachts, Andy can be found skiing, hiking or biking with his family in the Sierra Nevada mountains near his Lake Tahoe home.