Dell notebooks found with Superfish-style security issue

By Shawn Knight
Nov 23, 2015
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  1. Dell appears to have a security blunder on its hands not all that different from the Superfish fiasco that plagued Lenovo earlier this year.

    Programmer Joe Nord penned a blog post over the weekend in which he outlines finding a trusted root certificate pre-installed on his new Dell Inspiron 5000 series notebook. Named “eDellRoot,” the self-signing certificate is intended for “all” purposes and has an expiration date of 2039. Worse yet, after a little more digging, Nord found that the private key to the certificate was stored locally.

    The eDellRoot key has since been found on several other Dell models including the XPS 13 and XPS 15.

    As The Register notes, an attacker could set up a malicious Wi-Fi hotspot, intercept connections from Dell computers and easily strip away the encryption. The result would be unabated access to usernames, passwords, session cookies and other sensitive information. Attackers could even use it to sign programs, thus dressing up malware as legitimate programs.

    Dell’s social media global support team over on Twitter (@DellCares) attempted to downplay the issue over the weekend by saying it doesn’t cause any threat to systems. That post appears to have since been pulled from Dell’s feed.

    In a statement issued to multiple publications, Dell said customer security and privacy are a top concern and that they have a strict policy of minimizing the number of pre-load applications and assessing all applications for their security and usability. The PC maker added that it has a team investigating the current situation and will provide an update as soon as they have more information.

    The issue is ongoing although the chief concern is, why does eDellRoot even exist? Is Dell responsible for its inclusion? If Dell is responsible, it shows incredibly poor judgment considering Lenovo’s incident earlier this year.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,335   +1,937

    Maybe Dell was hoping no one would notice.
  3. RustyTech

    RustyTech TS Guru Posts: 814   +382

    ...yet another reason I ALWAY reinstall a clean version of windows when I purchase a new computer. Although I haven't purchased a new one since 1998...I've just always built mine :p
  4. Brotherz

    Brotherz TS Enthusiast Posts: 25

    That is really disappointing. Poor judgement from Dell. We all know that PC manufacturers have their way of collecting data, but at least it should be through a secure protocol and not with a pre-installed trusted certificate vulnerable to hijacking.

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