Microsoft Steps In To Clean Up Lenovo's Superfish Mess -- While Lenovo Stumbles And Superfish Remains Silent

from the the-cleaner dept

As we've been noting, both Lenovo and Superfish have been bungling their way through the response to the fact that they introduced a massive security hole in the way that Superfish's adware/malware dealt with HTTPS protected sites (by using a self-signed root certificate that was incredibly easily hacked, allowing basically anyone to create a simple man in the middle attack). Lenovo has been going through the motions, first insisting there was no security concern, then arguing that the concerns were theoretical and then quietly deleting its statement about the lack of security problems with Superfish. It also posted some instructions on removing both the software and the root certificate, and promised to have an automated system soon.

Superfish, on the other hand, has remained almost entirely silent. It gave some reporters bland statements insisting that there was no security risk, that it "stood by" Lenovo's statement, and insisted that Lenovo would come out with a statement that showed Superfish was not responsible for any of this mess. It also insisted that the company was fully "transparent" in how its software worked, but that's clearly not the case, because nowhere do they say "we create a massive man in the middle attack just so we can insert advertising images into your HTTPS surfing." At the time of writing this, Superfish appears to have nothing on its website about all of this. Its Twitter feed's last post, from yesterday mid-day simply says that Lenovo "will be releasing detailed information at 5 p.m. EST today."
Except, it did not. That's about when it modified its original "nothing to see here" statement, with instructions on how to remove Superfish. It did not, as Superfish had previously told journalists, include a statement "with all of the specifics that clarify that there has been no wrongdoing on our end." In fact, it still looks very much like there was tremendous wrongdoing on the part of Superfish in the way it decided to implement its technologies. And that's not even getting into Superfish's sketchy history.

In the end, while Lenovo and Superfish are flailing around, it was left to Microsoft to come in and clean up the mess, pushing out a Superfish Fix to its Windows Defender product:
Microsoft just took a major step towards rooting out the Superfish bug, which exposed Lenovo users to man-in-the-middle attacks. Researchers are reporting that Windows Defender, Microsoft's onboard anti-virus software, is now actively removing the Superfish software that came pre-installed on many Lenovo computers. Additionally, Windows Defender will reset any SSL certificates that were circumvented by Superfish, restoring the system to proper working order. It's a crucial fix, as many security professionals had been struggling to find a reliable method for consistently and completely undoing the harmful effects of the bug. To make sure the fix takes effect, any Superfish-affected Windows users should update their version of Windows Defender within the program and scan as soon as possible.
Perhaps it's not surprising that Superfish is struggling to figure out how to deal with this sudden attention as a smaller company, but Lenovo should have been on top of this issue much, much faster.

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  1. identicon
    PRMan, 20 Feb 2015 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Who'd have thought the day would come...

    In their defense, Microsoft has been pretty great since Satya Nadella took over. Windows 10 rocks, honestly.

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