Lenovo cuts pre-installed software, offers free anti-virus following Superfish disaster

Vendor wants to "become the leader in safer PCs"
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In what has been arguably a nightmare week for Lenovo, the computer manufacturer is hoping to end it by outlining a new strategy.

It all started last week when it was revealed that pre-loaded Superfish software (labelled by some as adware, or bloatware) on some Lenovo devices could give hackers easy access to secure browser data.

Some customers and the media heavily criticised Lenovo, forcing the firm to react. Lenovo's CTO Peter Hortensius wrote an open letter to customers to reassure them, but some US customers said they were planning on suing both Lenovo and Superfish.

Earlier this week both Lenovo and the firm behind the software were hit by cyber attacks

Now, in a bid to end the furore once and for all, Lenovo has said it plans to cut adware in the future to become "the leader in providing cleaner, safer PCs". It is also offering free McAfee LiveSafe to users affected by the Superfish issue.

Here's Lenovo's statement in full: 

"Just over a week ago, the Superfish visual discovery software preloaded onto Lenovo consumer notebooks beginning in September 2014 created concern and frustration among our customers and the security and privacy communities.

"We have worked with partners to create tools and update antivirus programs to eliminate Superfish software. And an automatic removal tool is available on Lenovo.com. No ThinkPads, desktops, tablets, smartphones nor any enterprise server or storage product was impacted.

"Additionally, we will offer Lenovo PC users affected by this issue a free six-month subscription to McAfee LiveSafe service (or a six-month extension for existing subscribers). More information will be available at Lenovo.com within seven days.

"The events of last week reinforce the principle that customer experience, security and privacy must be our top priorities. With this in mind, we will significantly reduce preloaded applications. Our goal is clear: To become the leader in providing cleaner, safer PCs. 

"We are starting immediately, and by the time we launch our Windows 10 products, our standard image will only include the operating system and related software, software required to make hardware work well (for example, when we include unique hardware in our devices, like a 3D camera), security software and Lenovo applications. This should eliminate what our industry calls 'adware' and 'bloatware'. For some countries, certain applications customarily expected by users will also be included. 

"Lenovo will post information about ALL software we preload on our PCs that clearly explains what each application does. And we will continuously solicit feedback from our user community and industry experts to ensure we have the right applications and best user experience. 

"We view these actions as a starting point. We believe that these steps will make our technology better, safer and more secure."

Further reading: The Lenovo Superfish issue is a loud warning for the whole industry

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