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Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Attorney General Joins $3.5m Multistate Settlement With Lenovo Over Installation Of Hacker-Vulnerable Software On Laptop Computers

September 5, 2017

CONTACT: Ryan Kriger, Assistant Attorney General, 802-828-3170

Attorney General Thomas J. Donovan, Jr. today announced that Vermont has joined with 31 other states in a settlement with technology company Lenovo (United States) Inc. The settlement resolves allegations that the company violated state consumer protection laws by pre-installing software on laptop computers sold to Vermont consumers. The software made consumers’ personal information vulnerable to hackers. The State of Vermont will receive $51,000.

In addition to the monetary payment, the settlement requires Lenovo to change its consumer disclosures about pre-installed advertising software. Lenovo must obtain consumers’ consent before using such software and provide a means for consumers to opt-out, disable or remove the software. Lenovo is also required to implement a software security compliance program.

In August 2014, North Carolina-based Lenovo began selling certain laptop computers that contained pre-installed ad software created by Superfish, Inc. The software introduced a security vulnerability on computers that made them more vulnerable to security breaches. While Lenovo stopped shipping laptops with the software in February 2015, though some of the laptops were still being sold by retailers as late as June 2015.

The settlement was negotiated and finalized in coordination with the Federal Trade Commission. The settlement is not final unless and until it is approved by the court.

More information about the Attorney General Donovan’s efforts to protect consumers can be found at www.ago.vermont.gov.

Last modified: March 12, 2018