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Turned Out Nice Again

Computrace (AKA Lo-Jack).

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Did you know that ... 

practically every modern laptop comes what is effectively an undefeatable rootkit hiding in the bios which, if activated, injects a software agent into Windows which phones its creators - Absolute software in Canada who can order it to take complete control of your system, locking you out and sending back unspecified data including but not limited to webcam images - all for the laudable purpose of preventing computer thefts ?

The setting in the bios is under Security/ Computrace which has possible 3 states; "not active", "enabled" or "disabled", the last 2 of which once selected become permanent and irrevocable.

Kaspersky have identified this as a serious potential security hole. What makes it really bad is that once activated, because it lives in the bios, there is nothing that can be done to expunge it from your system. What's worse is reports that some bioses have the module enabled right out of the factory, removing the option for the user to opt-out of what some say is potentially invincible spyware.

Be especially careful if you buy a used machine since the previous owner (particularly businesses) may have enabled Computrace.

I had my laptop's motherboard replaced under warranty recently to correct a display fault only to find that I'd acquired Computrace when my Avast anti-virus started flagging it on each boot as a security threat.

I'm pretty computer-savvy but nothing I tried could prevent that software activating on every Windows boot - even re-installing the OS on a fresh drive with all previous partitions deleted and the MBR wiped from a Linux boot pen drive.

I eventually demanded another motherboard from the manufacturer with Computrace deleted and thereby got rid of it for good.


Edited by Turned Out Nice Again

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Amazon's Alexa recorded private conversation and sent it to random contact

The company, which has insisted its Echo devices aren’t always recording, has confirmed the audio was sent

" No matter how suspicious it has seemed that Amazon is encouraging us to put listening devices in every room of our homes, the company has always said that its Echo assistants are not listening in on or recording conversations. Over and over again, company spokespeople have promised that they only start recording if someone says the wake word: “Alexa”.

It’s a spiel Danielle, an Alexa user from Portland, Oregon, had believed. She’d installed Echo devices and smart bulbs in every room in her house, accepting Amazon’s claims that they were not invading her privacy. But today she asked the company to investigate after an Alexa device recorded a private conversation between her and her husband and sent it to a random number in their address book without their permission.

Danielle found out her Alexa was recording when she received an alarming call from one of her husband’s colleagues saying: “Unplug your Alexa devices right now, you’re being hacked.”



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