Saturday, February 28, 2015

Major Corporations are Hacking your brand new computer

This sadly falls under the tag of "I'm not surprised".  Well, I'm not surprised it happened, I'm a bit surprised it was Lenovo.  It seems that Lenovo started shipping laptops with Superfish preinstalled.  What Superfish does is a classic man in the middle attack, and it gathers all your information - and essentially makes it public, if you happen to be silly enough to use it on a public wifi.  (Which a LOT of people do)

Read the above article to get more information.  

What does this mean?  If you bought a Lenovo in the last 6 months it means all "your passwords are belong to us."  At this point I wouldn't touch Lenovo with a 100' pole, which is sad because they made pretty good hardware and does a fine job running linux - The issue is that I'm not about to support a company that even considered thinking  this might be a good idea.  I HATE bloatware but it's one of those things you just sort of have to live with unless you build your machine from scratch - which is difficult to do with laptops.  Virtually any computer you buy today will come with bloatware, some benign like Netflix, or the Kindle App, some malware - and now some like Superfish - pure evil.  I mean spying on which web sites you access is bad, but spying on your supposed SSL encrypted connection to your bank - that is evil, and possibly criminal.

Samsung got caught spying on their Smart TV buyers so, if you think this will be an isolated event you're not paying attention.  There's a fair chance that it wasn't just Lenovo that started shipping Superfish - and if that name isn't Truth in Advertising I'm not sure what would be - maybe  WeStealYourData.   I can't decided if the programmers at Superfish are just a bunch of amateurs with delusions of adequacy or if they're stupid crooks. Those are really the only two options for what they did.  A smart crook would have not made all your data public thus doing a better job of hiding the fact that they were stealing all your data - it takes a special kind of stupid to pull shit like this.  A professional would have understood the risks involved and assuming they weren't also crooks would have declined to even create this piece of gǒushǐ*  

Fortunately we're seeing some movement in the games industry that should make Linux a much more widely accepted platform with the announced introduction of GLNext (more info here).

If enough of the game-devs move off of DirectX to this next version of OpenGL (GLNext) we might start seeing some serious support for drivers thus making Linux perhaps the best gaming platform available - light, fast, open, free.    At which point, perhaps Microsoft won't be able to force the majority of their users (gamers) into upgrades by making the next version of DirectX incompatible with previous versions of windows.  - You'll be able to get light weight installs of the OS, free apps that cover all the basics - there will only be a few reasons to use Windows at all, and the only compelling reasons to use Mac OS will be their excellent but stupidly expensive laptops for the likes of Photoshop, CAD software, and other vertical applications.

* Firefly Mandarin  - Crap or Shit. Go-Sa