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Dell, Toshiba and Lenovo Utilities Expose PCs To More Attacks 89

jones_supa writes: It turns out that OEM helper software is still often quite fragile and can expose systems wide open to attack. Currently Lenovo, Dell and Toshiba all have unpatched vulnerabilities in their various support utilities for Windows. These vulnerabilities were discovered by a security researcher who goes by the name Slipstream, and he has posted details onlinealong with proof-of-concept exploit code. The vulnerabilities allow arbitrary code execution, planting malicious files and modifying system registry values.
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Dell, Toshiba and Lenovo Utilities Expose PCs To More Attacks

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  • haven't they always?
    • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2015 @09:57PM (#51092711)

      haven't they always?

      I don't know. I've been building my own PCs and installing OEM Windows since 486 days. I also use this thing called the "No" or "Cancel" button when installers and websites generously offer me things I was not looking for. I really don't understand many of the PC/Windows problems that so many talk about. ;-)

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Jimmy, you're a very special child. It would seem you have the ability to tell the difference between actual content, and ads.

      • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday December 10, 2015 @12:52AM (#51093285) Journal

        And there is always PC Decrapifier [] for those PCs that come with "restore partitions" filled with crap, so I really don't get the big deal either.

        Of course this is one more reason to go to your local system builder, the only software I install other than Windows is freeware that people can use like a full AV, Libre Office, Pale Moon and Comodo Dragon browsers with Adblock Plus,all spyware free.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          you might not want to admit that in public, some of it is free for non-commercial use. installing it as a system builder is commercial use unless you have permission

          • Citation? The Browsers are FOSS as is LO, the AV has a license for free or small business use, so care to name what license you speak of oh insightful one, or are you just talking out your rectum?
      • by RH434 ( 3637461 )
        I DO know. I have been building PC's and installing OEM Windows since the 286 days. Way back then, Windows was a program not an operating system. You used DOS and had complete control over your drive, partitions, memory and installation of selected programs. (Anyone remember DEBUG C:8000) Today, the OEM loads it for you, with multiple sometimes hidden partitions with bloatware they were paid to install with Windows and other exploitable software as the OP stated. It is not the same as just checking NO when
        • You are confused about the checkboxes being referred to. I am referring to something like the installer of a program you genuinely want that has a default opt-in checkbox offering to install some 3rd party's toolbar/extension for the web browser.

          Crapware does not solely come from PC vendor bundling. It also come from various websites and software application bundle's, insidiously default opt-in with respect to the later.

          OEM Windows is only part of the solution to a clean PC. One must also pay attentio
    • I don't know about these 3, but I have an Acer that came w/ a lot of utilities to make Windows 8 more usable. After I upgraded to Windows 10, they're totally useless. When I add a new user, they don't even show up.
  • You have a doughnut in the low level of your operating system that can communicate online without OS kernel protection, so essentially you boot to ram a executable that can modify the OS section of windows with impunity. About the same as Homer Simpson putting a doughnut into the reactor core to moderate the control rods!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I really wish that there was a way to force hardware manufacturers to ship a vanilla OS without the value-added crapware. Maybe then older Android devices could get security updates, Windows and Android would be more secure and I wouldn't rage when stories like this hit the news. Again and again and again.

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      You can. Those local shops that build PC's for you can also get you a vanilla Windows install CD without the crudware. Your on your own with hardware drivers though.

      • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

        Most mainboards have the driver disc included - although the driver disc also has "value-added" crapware. I mostly use Gigabyte boards - you just have to install the drivers individually, rather than let the disc's autorun install everything.

        90-day trial of Norton Internet Security? Thanks, but no thanks.

  • Windose Again (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 09, 2015 @09:36PM (#51092609)

    Oh FFS:

    "LSCTaskService is further associated with a file called LSCController.dll, which contains methods that can be called using HTTP GET and POST requests to its port. LSCTaskService can be made to run arbitrary code in the unprotected directory %APPDATA%\LSC\Local Store with system privileges, using a LSCController method called RunInstaller."

    So javascript on a website can run arbitrary code with system privileges! FFS.

    And Dell too? Having been caught installing a backdoor cert on its PCs, here it is again.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    My mother's old Lenovo T41 recently crapped out on her finally and she almost went ahead and replaced it with a new Lenovo on her own. Luckily I stopped her with a stern lecture and bought her a spotless refurb'd HP elite book with a clean install of just win7pro that will do everything she needs and more. She had a huge disdain for anything "used" at first but when I educated her on superfish and other factory-grade malware that reassured her and she's loving it.

    Now... if I get a call from her about allowi

  • Consider hardware brands that are more about a real clean OS install.
    Consider other better OS options.
  • "It turns out that OEM helper software is still often quite fragile and can expose systems wide open to attack"

    Yes, we know.

    In other news, water is still wet, the Sun still rises in the East.

  • blatent malware (Score:5, Informative)

    by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Thursday December 10, 2015 @01:47AM (#51093399)
    The last fairly new HP I worked on has no entry in the uninstall list for "Hp Support Assistant." I traced where the program launches from and it uses an acronym to hide behind. Then the uninstaller the directory actually references some HP solutions framework thing. I tried removing that from its entry on the control panel and it said it can't remove it because it was needed by the HP Support Assistant. So I ran the uninstaller directly from the directory and it did quite literally nothing. So I had to remove the entire directory and every reference to it in the various boot time locations in the registry to truly kill it. That's what I like to call malware. It literally violates US laws pertaining to software having to be removable by the user if they want. I'm sure there's some preinstallation EULA BS to get around it though. Great upgrade to that crapware, HP!
    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      Which laws are those? I'd be interested in reading them.

      • Really? Because it sounds like you're just a sarcastic jackass. There are two software laws in the US and this is one of them. You must get permissions to put software on a system. You must allow the software to be removable. You go look them up if you're so damn interested.
        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          See, I did. I didn't find any such law. That's why I asked. If you have one by name then, by all means, I'd love to read it and see some case law.

    • Amazing the lengths they go through to make it so you can't uninstall their "utility" and HP isn't even on this "bad list". I wonder if that is because this guy just didn't get to them yet? I can understand the PC Vendors wanting it on there - for the consumers that call them and have no clue after they've botched things up...but making it so you can't uninstall it moves into the realm of them thinking its their computer and not mine.

      This is the 2nd serious security botch up recently for Dell, the NS
    • by Anonymous Coward

      HP does install a lot of junk. 250 megs for a printer driver is absolutely insane.

      I have found one of three ways to have a decent computing experience away from online trespassers:

      1: Buy a Mac. Apple does have settings, but they are obvious and can be turned off. Once off, they stay off. Plus, Apple hardware can run Windows.

      2: Build your own desktop with your own Windows copy. It may be more expensive than a cheapie from S-Mart, but you know what goes on it.

      3: Buy the cheapie PC, dd the data from th

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