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Critical flaws on OEM laptops let hackers take over in 10 minutes

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Security researchers have discovered critical vulnerabilities in popular off-the-shelf HP, Acer, Dell, Asus and Lenovo laptops that make it possible for hackers to hijack and compromise the PCs in less than 10 minutes.

Among cybersecurity professionals, it's commonly known that if you want to have a secure PC, you probably shouldn't use a regular off-the-shelf consumer laptop as they come with 'bloatware', or third-party pre-installed software that users don't really need.

However, no one has ever definitively proved that consumer laptops aren't that secure, so researchers from Duo Security in the US decided to test out 10 different laptops by HP, Acer, Dell, Asus and Lenovo sold by retailers in Canada, the UK and the US. Ahead of the full report published today (2016-05-31), their project also exposed the eDellRoot backdoor found in Dell PCs in November 2015.

All the laptops come with automatic updaters developed by the computer's manufacturer to update system drivers or the BIOs, as well as the bloatware, and the researchers discovered that every single manufacturer's updater had security vulnerabilities that put millions of consumers at risk.

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