Lenovo patches serious flaw in pre-installed support tool

The flaw could allow attackers to gain higher privileges on compromised computers

20160224 stock mwc lenovo booth sign
A booth sign at Mobile World Congress 2016 shows the logo of hardware manufacturer Lenovo in a file image captured on Feb. 25, 2016. Credit: Stephen Lawson

Lenovo has fixed a vulnerability in its Lenovo Solution Center support tool that could allow attackers to execute code with system privileges and take over computers.

The Lenovo Solution Center (LSC) is an application that comes pre-installed on many Lenovo laptops and desktops. It allows users to check their system’s virus and firewall status, update their software, perform backups, check battery health, get registration and warranty information and run hardware tests.

The tool has two components: a graphical user interface and a service called LSCTaskService that runs in the background at all times even if the user interface is not started.

The Lenovo Solution Center version 3.3.002, released on April 25, contains a fix for a local privilege escalation vulnerability reported by a security researcher from Trustwave. The flaw could allow a local Windows user, or an attacker who compromises a local user, to execute malicious code with system privileges and take control of the whole OS.

This is not the first time such a vulnerability was found and fixed in LSC. In fact, Lenovo updated an old advisory for flaws reported in December with information about the new vulnerability, making it somewhat hard to spot.

Users should automatically be prompted to update LSC when they open the application, but in case they don't, they should download the latest version manually from Lenovo's website.

This incident continues the trend of serious flaws being found in applications that PC manufacturers pre-install on their products whether they are their own support tools or third-party software programs from partners. Pre-installed software that is generally not wanted by users or requires more resources than necessary to function is sometimes called "bloatware."

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