Lenovo has been caught using a technique, often used by some malware to withstand being deleted, to reinstall unwanted software on the computers it sells.
As reported on a number of forums and news-sharing sites
, some users have accused the computer maker of overwriting Windows files to ensure its own-brand software and tools were installed -- even after a clean install of the operating system.
The issue was first reported as early as May, but was widely reported Tuesday.
The "rootkit"-style covert installer, dubbed the Lenovo Service Engine (LSE), works by installing an additional program that updates drivers, firmware, and other pre-installed apps. The engine also "sends non-personally identifiable system data to Lenovo servers," according to the company
. The engine, which resides in the computer's BIOS, replaces a core Windows system file with its own, allowing files to be downloaded once the device is connected to the internet.
But that service engine also put users at risk.