by Sharon Florentine

Lenovo Consumer Laptops Bring a Super Fishy Surprise

Feb 20, 20152 mins

Lenovo has stopped pre-loading Superfish adware onto it new machines, but the practice has raised security and privacy concerns. Here's how to remove it.

Lenovo’s newest laptops come preloaded with more than just the standard operating system and applications – many also include adware.

The adware, Superfish’s Visual Discovery software, injects third-party ads on Google Chrome and Internet Explorer Web searches without users’ permission.

In response to complaints about the adware on Lenovo forums, Mark Hopkins, program manager, Lenovo social media, initially attempted to defend the practice, writing, “Superfish comes with Lenovo consumer products only and is a technology that helps users find and discover products visually,” but the PC maker was forced to remove Superfish from consumer products in late January after numerous complaints about popups and potential concerns about privacy and “man in the middle” attacks. Such attacks occur when software like Superfish uses self-signed security certificates to snoop on secure, encrypted website traffic.

“We have temporarily removed Superfish from our consumer systems until such time as Superfish is able to provide a software build that addresses these issues. As for units already in market, we have requested that Superfish auto-update a fix that addresses these issues,” writes Hopkins.

If you’re not willing to wait for an auto-update fix or pay for an additional clean operating system license to overwrite the pre-installed software, here’s how to remove Superfish/Visual Discovery from your Lenovo machine.

Lenovo advises simply navigating to Control Panel > Uninstall a Program, then selecting Visual Discovery > Uninstall.

You can also navigate into Windows Task Manager and select Visual Discovery under the Services tab. Once selected, you right-click on the Visual Discovery service and select ‘Stop,’ as detailed in this video.