Do you have a Lenovo laptop, purchased between September last year and February? If so, it might come with a severe security hole, one that was pre-loaded by Lenovo "to enhance the user experience" as the company put it.

Lenovo partnered with a company called Superfish to install the latter's eponymous adware on a range of laptops - which is probably not what users wanted in the first place, but it gets worse.

Superfish comes with technology that breaks Transport Layer Security - TLS - authenticated and encrypted communications, and intercepts such traffic. Browsers usually display a padlock to show that traffic is secured with TLS and HTTPS when you visit internet banking sites for instance.

The technology comes from another company, Komodia, and is badly done with the same digital certificate across several applications (it's not just Superfish that uses it), making it simple for anyone on the same network as the targets to listen in and modify what users think is secure communication.

Advertisement

Connect to Wi-Fi in cafes, libraries, hotels and someone could snag your HTTPS data.

Normally, there would be a warning from the web browser, but thanks to Komodia that trick the system into accepting any old certificate, everything will look fine.

That's bad enough, but Lenovo made it worse and attempted to play down the legitimate howls of outrage from users and security researchers.

Put it simply, HTTPS forms the foundation of secure web browsing.

There's no excuse for Lenovo or anyone else to tamper with HTTPS or SSL by distributing what appears to be commercialised spyware from companies with a history of annoying users.

Here's how to get rid of the malware: test if Superfish and Komodia are installed on your machine.

If you trust Lenovo, the company has released a tool that will automatically delete Superfish and also provides manual removal instructions if you do not.

Several anti-malware applications like Microsoft's Defender that's built into Windows have been updated to recognise and remove Superfish as well.

As of writing, it's turned out that other companies use Komodia and similar technology to get around TLS/SSL security.

Lenovo is also now being sued in the US for preloading Superfish on customers' computers and that should be a warning to any other company trying similar clever tech tricks.

Gear: LG 34UC97 ultra-wide monitor

I am a curved-screen sceptic, having tried out bent hi-def TVs and quite literally not seen the benefit compared to flat displays when you sit far away from the screens with several people watching.

Close up with computer monitors like LG's ultra-wide 34UC97 the curved screen makes a great deal of sense however.

As the unmemorable moniker implies, the screen measures 34 inches diagonally. It's not a monster screen, or particularly heavy, but it's wide. The native resolution is 3,440 by 1,440 pixels, giving the 34UC97 a 21 to 9 aspect ratio.

It's not 4K but the wide aspect of the screen makes it surprisingly useful for a range of tasks. Curving the long screen slightly towards you is a great idea for single-person use.

Going back to flat, large monitors after the 34UC97 feels a bit odd, actually.

Other useful features that the 34UC97 bring include wide, 99 per cent coverage of the sRGB colour gamut (good for image work), in-plane switching tech for the screen itself with wide viewing angles and good sharpness and contrast.

LG put its MaxxAudio sound system in the 34UC97 with seven watt output too with down-firing speakers, and it's fairly good.

There's a slightly difficult to use upside-down joystick style controller at the bottom of the screen for accessing settings, and two HDMI, two Thunderbolt, one DisplayPort and USB connectors at the back take care of most input needs.

Thanks to the multiple inputs and the wide screen, you can project two different computers displays on the 34UC97. That's instead of having two separate screens, and it's a feature that I found surprisingly useful.

Although it didn't bother me, gamers especially (the 34UC97 has fairly low input lag) will note the screen has only 60Hz refresh rate, and not 120 or 144Hz as some other models do.

Now the not-so-good parts: the recommended retail price for the 34UC97 is $1,999 including GST, although I've seen it for $1,750-$1,800.

You get a fair bit for your money and the 34UC97 is unique, but that's still top dollar.

My sample was a prototype and literally had rough edges around the glass screen that shimmered with reflected light. There was also a gap in the lower right-hand corner that let the LED backlight shine through and which caused light to bleed through screen. I hope flaws like these won't show up in production specimens.

If LG makes sure those flaws are taken care of in retail models, the 34UC97 is worth checking out, high price notwithstanding.