It hasn't been a good year for PC manufacturers and security. Both Lenovo and Dell have had problems with pre-installed software that give up customer information to advertisers or let hackers bypass certain security systems. They've had to scramble to correct the problems.
Now we're learning that there are even more security flaws to go around, this time affecting Lenovo, Dell and Toshiba. Estimates indicate that millions of PCs could be at risk from this problem. Let's look at what it is and what you can do about it.
As with most computer manufacturers, Lenovo, Dell and Toshiba install their own programs into Windows before shipping the machine. These might be manufacturer-specific utilities or "value-added software." In the tech world, it's generally summed up as "bloatware."
Bloatware is generally unwanted because it takes up space and slows down your computer. And now, it's become a security problem.
The most recent bloatware problem comes courtesy of Lenovo Solution Center, Toshiba Service Station and Dell System Detect. These programs are supposed to keep your computer updated or help customer service fix problems faster.
However, the Lenovo Solution Center has three flaws that could let a hacker take over your computer, and Toshiba Service Station and Dell System Detect both let a hacker get admin control of your system even if you're running a standard user account.
Fortunately, you can uninstall these programs and make your computer instantly safer. While you're at it, see what other bloatware you have installed and get rid of the ones you don't need. You can even use a program that detects and removes bloatware for you.