Understanding the Superfish Scandal

Privacy is critical to nearly everyone’s life. It’s why one of our lawyers recently became a Certified Information Privacy Professional. It’s why the Superfish scandal is important, and it’s why Lenovo should have done the right thing sooner.

What happened, exactly?

The computer company Lenovo installed a browser add-on called Superfish on more than two dozen different kinds of laptops. This particular add-on is supposed to help you comparison shop, and it works by creating targeted ads when you open up your browser (like Google or Fire Fox or even Internet Explorer). From this angle, Superfish is merely irritating, and Lenovo made a mistake in sending out computers with annoying adware pre-installed.

However, the real problem – the frightening problem – is that “Superfish intentionally pokes a gigantic hole into your browser security and allows anyone on your Wi-Fi network to hijack your browser silently and collect your bank credentials, passwords, and anything else you might conceivably type there,” as David Auerbach of Slate puts it. Anything and everything that Lenovo users put online over the past few months is subject to an attack.

Why you need to know about this issue

Lenovo Superfish ScandalEven if you did not purchase a Lenovo laptop with Superfish installed, this is an important story to follow for a number of reasons:

  1. Any time a harmful product is put on the market, you should be aware of what it is and how to avoid it
  2. Any time a manufacturer fails to do the proper testing of its products, that manufacturer should be taken to task
  3. Any time a company chooses to ignore a documented problem and continue to ship out defective products that can harm people, that company must deal with the fallout publicly

But here is the real problem: the hijacking software in Superfish was built by a company called Komodia, and Superfish is not their only client. That means we are all at risk, regardless of whose computers we purchase. Lenovo has since apologized and taken the blame for their mistakes, but it may be too little, too late. Exposing thousands of people to identity theft may require a bit more than a “my bad” from Lenovo.

If your identity was stolen through Superfish the hidden adware on your computer, if you are concerned that you are now at risk for identity theft or have other privacy concerns due to Superfish, or if you have been harmed by a similarly defective product, Paulson & Nace, PLLC would like to hear your story. Please contact our Washington, D.C. office to speak with an attorney.

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