Statement On Lenovo Superfish

Lenovo recently came under fire for being caught preloading laptops with a program called Superfish. The program contained a security flaw which allowed users’ web connections to be hijacked and spied on. Superfish is considered “adware”, software that automatically displays advertisements.

However, a Lenovo spokesman reported, “We have thoroughly investigated this technology and do not find any evidence to substantiate security concerns.” Superfish “does not profile nor monitor user behavior. It does not record user information. It does not know who the user is. Users are not tracked nor re-targeted,” according to Re/Code.

Lenovo did not install Superfish on any ThinkPad notebooks, nor any desktops, workstations, servers, tablets, or phones. The only laptops that were preloaded with the software were the following consumer model notebooks:  Z-series, Y-Series, U-Series, G-Series, S-Series, Flex-Series, Yoga, Miix and E-Series. Superfish only affects these laptops shipped between September and December of 2014.

No devices sold from catmandu will contain Superfish.

At catmandu, with our commitment to excellence and to our customers, we only sell high-end Lenovo products. You will not find any of the consumer models in our locations.

Lenovo will not be preloading Superfish on any device in the future and they are making every effort to inform consumers of the risks of not uninstalling Superfish. In a statement to their retailers, they stated, “We know that millions of people rely on our devices every day, and it is our responsibility to deliver quality, reliability, innovation and security to each and every customer.”

Removal of the adware is relatively simple. You can find the instructions here, or you can bring your laptop to one of the catmandu locations.

At catmandu, we continue to stand behind the Lenovo product line.

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John Deere & catmandu

John Deere and catmandu. Weird combination, right? What could an outdoor and farm equipment company have in common with a tech company? We live in an agricultural community here in Amarillo, TX. Our city thrives on the rampant production agriculture that occurs outside the city limits.

For miles and miles into the distance, all you can see is fields of wheat, corn, and sorghum blanketing the landscape with a lot of cattle herds mixed in. And what brand of equipment do you normally see tilling the soil, planting the seeds, and eventually harvesting the crops? John Deere. Why? Because they’re the best in the business and John Deere equipment is the industry standard.

At catmandu, we sell Lenovo brand laptops, desktops, and tablets. We like to say that Lenovo is the John Deere of PCs because Lenovo is the #1 PC maker in the world and has the lowest failure rate.

At catmandu, we could sell HP, Toshiba, or Dell systems and honestly, we would make a lot more money if we did because 1) computer brands like these are cheaper, therefore we would be able to charge a higher mark-up and still sell more and 2) the computers would fail more often, causing the customer to come into catmandu and spend more money trying to fix the problems that will inevitably crop up. We’ve seen too many one month old laptops come through our doors with a myriad of issues and we couldn’t live with ourselves if those were the laptops we were selling.

At catmandu, as our motto states, “everything matters.” Especially our customers. We want to sell you the best products in the world. You deserve nothing less than excellence from us. That’s why we only sell Lenovo, the industry standard and the John Deere of computers.

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Partnering With Faith City Ministries

One of our most important goals here at camandu is to give back to the Amarillo, TX community through partnering with local charity organizations. One such charity is Faith City Ministries, an organization located downtown that provides food, clothing, spiritual ministry, furniture, household items, shelter, employment services, and recovery programs to the men, women, and children of our town.

Faith City Ministries was started in 1951 by Dick and Bea Hogan who began the mission after a call from God. Throughout the years, the mission has grown from a small rented building to Faith City Ministries as it is today. They have been serving downtown Amarillo for over 60 years through the generous donations of individuals, businesses, churches, and organizations. They have never been funded by the government and this is why we at catmandu feel it is so important to support them.

catmandu has partnered with Faith City for over 5 years and throughout that time we held coat and thermal drives every November. This year, however, Faith City actually had a surplus of coats and what they needed was first aid kits to distribute to the homeless. We held a first aid kit drive at our offices and were able to contribute some to their need.

But we’re only one business. We urge all other businesses in Amarillo to consider holding drives or raising money for Faith City or any local charitable organization.

To read more about Faith City Ministries or to donate and volunteer, you can visit their website.

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TurboTax Resumes Filing After Fraudulent Returns

Late last week, TurboTax, the online tax return filing software, turned off its state filing feature for all states after the discovery that fraudulent returns had been filed, according to USA Today. Stolen personal data had been used to file fake state returns allowing criminals to claim tax refunds.

TurboTax’s state filing feature has resumed after an investigation found that the fake returns were not a result of TurboTax’s systems, but a result of data stolen elsewhere.

“We are taking this issue very seriously and from the moment it emerged it has been all-hands-on-deck,” says Brad Smith, CEO of TurboTax parent company Intuit. “I am more than pleased we were able to resume transmission for our customers within about 24 hours.”

According to USA Today, two customers from Minnesota logged onto TurboTax to find their state returns already filed, prompting the state of Minnesota to no longer accept electronically submitted filings using TurboTax. In addition, the state of Utah discovered 28 fraud attempts.

The fear of personal data breaches is heightened after last week’s Anthem Health Insurance hack, where the names, addresses, email addresses, social security numbers, and income levels of 80 million people were stolen. According to MarketWatch, this kind of data makes it easy for a criminal to file a fake tax return. Much of this data is sold on the black market in bulk. Criminals will set up in a hotel room and file return after return.

Fraudulent tax returns are all too common. In 2013, the IRS paid $5.2 billion in refunds to fraudulent identities.

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Google Play Apps Infected With Adware

Security firm Avast released this report earlier today stating that certain games on Google Play, once downloaded, infect your device with adware, a type of malware that causes unwanted ads to constantly pop up on your screen. “Durak,” one of the infected games, has had 5 to 10 million downloads in both English speaking countries and foreign nations.

Avast researcher Filip Chytry found adware in over a dozen apps including an IQ Test and a history app.

Once downloaded, the apps don’t start showing ads right away, often taking up to 30 days to start serving ads. According to TechCrunch, your phone has to be rebooted at least once before the adware begins but once it does, an ad will appear each time the user unlocks their phone. A warning will be shown stating that the phone is infected, in need of updating, or full of porn. The ad will ask users to be redirected to a site to fix the problem, but that site will simply collect information and personal data.

Some of the ads were from legitimate companies. Even more surprising, some were from real online security apps, such as Quihoo 360. To be sure you’re not installing dangerous apps, read descriptions carefully. Many of the descriptions of the adware-laden apps are written in broken English.

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