Usually, if you find some sort of bloatware or crapware on your computer you can simply uninstall it and not worry about it again. However, Lenovo has been silently sticking bloatware onto new laptops for years now that is not only an inconvenience but also impossible to remove.
As Chris Williams explains, even if the hard drive is wiped or the bloatware is uninstalled Lenovo will secretly reinstall it without you ever knowing a thing. Instead of putting these files in an operating folder that most bloatware is traditionally installed in, Lenovo has resorted to putting these programs in the actually hardware and firmware of their laptops.
The Lenovo Service Engine, or LNE, is automatically launched every time an instance of Microsoft Windows is detected to be running and replaces the autochk.exe file that Windows uses to check for software updates. After Windows begins to boot, Lenovo checks to make sure that LenovoUpdate.exe and LenovoCheck.exe are present in the operating system. If they aren’t, the executable will secretly and quickly reinstall the programs from BIOS without anybody ever knowing.
Now, you may be wondering, isn’t this a bit sketchy? And, how is Lenovo pulling this off, isn’t there some sort of Windows Security feature to stop this? To accomplish these stealthy installs LSE simply hijacks the Windows Platform Binary Table and changes a few settings to allow it to install new software that is stored within the motherboard’s firmware.
Needless to say many people around the world are not happy with this newly discovered hijacking. With that being said, the most worrying question may be whether or not Microsoft intended for other companies to be able to exploit the operating system in this way; begging another question of which hardware and software manufacturers alike are in the businesses of purposely installing rootkits to track their customers.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons | http://bit.ly/1TrX5yl