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Acer May Be Bugging Computers 396

Posted by Zonk
from the might-want-to-look-into-this dept.
tomjen writes "What if a well known laptop company had silently placed an ActiveX Control on their computers that allowed any webpage to execute any program? Well Acer apparently has and they have (based on the last modified-by date of the file) been doing this since 1998. 'Checking the interface of the control reveals it has a method named "Run()" as shown below. The method supports parameters "Drive", "FileName", and "CmdLine". Isn't it strange for a control that's marked "safe for scripting" to allow a method that is suggestive of possible abuse?'"
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Acer May Be Bugging Computers

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  • But dude... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Thaidog (235587) <tylermcadams@ h u shmail.com> on Monday January 08, 2007 @01:47AM (#17504716)
    They're Ferrari's
  • Re:Phew! (Score:5, Funny)

    by BrainInAJar (584756) on Monday January 08, 2007 @01:49AM (#17504736)
    Mine shipped with Linux, which I immediately wiped & installed FreeBSD, but I appreciate the thought
  • Re:Phew! (Score:5, Funny)

    by gardyloo (512791) on Monday January 08, 2007 @01:53AM (#17504760)
    Haha. I was just joking. I actually use mine by drilling through the case, and making and breaking a couple of connections between the motherboard and three "C" cells hooked in series with paperclips. Manually, beeyotch. Real men type in raw binary without the keyboard. But I appreciate the thought.
  • Re:Phew! (Score:5, Funny)

    by pboulang (16954) on Monday January 08, 2007 @02:11AM (#17504880)
    I spend a hundred bucks on dinner sometimes, and that's just for me, not including the babe or the vino. Sheesh.
    Do you have to pay for the babe by the hour or is it a flat rate?
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Monday January 08, 2007 @02:11AM (#17504886) Homepage Journal
    Can't...get...back...contr...Everything is Fine and Happy. Nothing to Worry About. Have a Nice Day!
         
  • by snicho99 (984884) on Monday January 08, 2007 @02:15AM (#17504912) Homepage
    Don't panic. It's not a method for launching applications.

    The original article failed to notice that it's a Lunch application. It's actually a throw back to when Acer briefly partnered up with 180solutions to deliver targeted pop-under sandwiches to hungry laptop owners. The idea being that after seventeen hours of trying to uninstall Bonsai Buddy the computer user would be debilitated through starvation and susceptible receptive to sp(iced h)am..

    The program was abandoned when Acer's engineers failed to perfect the wasabi-over-ip protocol - leaving the whole system unreliable an prone to bagel overrun.

  • SWAH!?! (Score:5, Funny)

    by foo fighter (151863) on Monday January 08, 2007 @02:21AM (#17504948) Homepage
    This news is unbelievable.

    Acer still makes computers? People still buy them?

    I remember Acer being a budget brand with a bad rep for quality and customer service back in the mid- to late-90s. I can't believe they are still a going concern.
     
  • by Joebert (946227) on Monday January 08, 2007 @02:33AM (#17505024) Homepage
    Exactly, they're made by the Tooth Fairy & the Easter Bunny with the help of Santas' elves during their offseasons.
  • Re:Phew! (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 08, 2007 @03:51AM (#17505444)
    At work when XP came out we bought several HP desktops (retail). None came with discs. Just a restore partition with tons of junk installed. Calling HP's support claimed a XP cd isn't needed since XP was "crash proof".

    When a hard drive failed, at least doing a dd copy of the HD of another computer worked (this was before ntfsclone).
  • by Salvance (1014001) * on Monday January 08, 2007 @04:08AM (#17505518) Homepage Journal
    Sucks to be one of the bloggers who accepted an Acer ... sounds like Microsoft wasn't being nice at all, maybe they're just increasing their spy network.
  • Re:Phew! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Linker3000 (626634) on Monday January 08, 2007 @04:51AM (#17505750) Journal
    Meh,

    I immediately reformatted my newly-purchased Acer's hard disk, installed DR-DOS and Crosstalk and do all my computing on a VAX 11/750.

    Next...
  • pre-owned? (Score:5, Funny)

    by BigBuckHunter (722855) on Monday January 08, 2007 @04:58AM (#17505770)
    Kinda changes the definition of a "pre-owned" machine!

    BBH
  • by Joebert (946227) on Monday January 08, 2007 @05:48AM (#17505972) Homepage
    Someone probably had their kid standing right next to them when they did it...
  • by 5of0 (935391) on Monday January 08, 2007 @07:31AM (#17506472) Homepage
    Note: The following comments are legitimate information, designed to help people help themselves. I am not an Acer fanboy (I reserve that for SanDisk), but I like my laptop. YMMV.
    Actually, I have an Acer Aspire 1640. It's a nice machine for the $799 I got it for about 6 months ago. And Acer doesn't load a bunch of AOL/WildTangent/EarthLink/etc useless "applications" that are bundled because they can't stand on their own, like certain other manufacturers *cough*Dell*cough*HP*cough*. The few things that were bundled (counted on *maybe* 2 hands) were actually useful.
    Once I got to college (where I have access to $10 Win XP Pro discs) I wiped it, reinstalled Windows (gasp!) *and* Ubuntu Linux. Works great, and with 120GB HD, plenty of space for both OS's. The Windows works great, since it's very light (only Windows-only stuff, everything else is on Ubuntu+Wine).
    Hardware support on Linux is pretty decent. After some elbow grease, wireless, ethernet, widescreen, CPU power stepping, Sansa m250, even hardware buttons are working. Sound is the only thing I'm not sure about, output works fine, input seems finicky. I could probably fix it, but I don't care that much yet.

    So...I'm not that concerned. Besides, who uses Internet Explorer anyway?
    (That was sarcasm. I know the correct answer is "98% of everyone, luser!")
    (That was sarcasm too. I know the correct answer is really "No, it's 89%, n00b!!11!!BBQ!! Look at my fancy link [example.com]!!")
    (Other appropriate comments include "I for one welcome our new Acer-invited overlords", "In soviet russia, computers bug Acer!", "I use lynx, you insensitive clod", "Ubuntu sux. [Insert Distro Name Here] is sooo, like, better because [insert unsubtantiated claim here].", etc., ad infinitum.)
  • Re:Phew! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dilaudid (574715) on Monday January 08, 2007 @07:34AM (#17506482)
    Old? Hah I rememember trolling by morse code back when slashdot was a ham radio channel.
  • Re:Phew! (Score:4, Funny)

    by pallmall1 (882819) on Monday January 08, 2007 @07:56AM (#17506610)
    And liked it!
  • Re:Phew! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Stormwatch (703920) <<rodrigogirao> <at> <hotmail.com>> on Monday January 08, 2007 @08:21AM (#17506760) Homepage
    Someone please mod this agressive idiot to hell....please.
    There is no "-1 sinful" moderation, sorry.
  • Re:Phew! (Score:2, Funny)

    by ThomS (866280) on Monday January 08, 2007 @08:40AM (#17506878) Homepage
    Mine shipped with FreeBSD, which I immediately wiped & wrote my own OS, in binary, with my eyes closed and my hands tied behind my back, but I appreciate the thought
  • Loser (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:57AM (#17507494)
    I installed a punch card reader and do all my computing the old way.
  • by MrNougat (927651) <ckratschNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:30AM (#17507876)
    They're Ferrari's


    They're Ferarri's what?
  • by MrNougat (927651) <ckratschNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:32AM (#17507896)
    And then I spell Ferrari's (sic) wrong anyway. Someone shoot me.
  • Re:Phew! (Score:2, Funny)

    by FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:33AM (#17507912) Homepage
    I was going to draw little ones and zeroes with a stick in the mud, but what with being old skool, my people have not discovered the zero yet, but I appreciate the thought.
  • Re:Phew! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:41AM (#17508002)
    Morse code? You were lucky! I used to dream of using morse code.

    When I were a lad we used rocks to represent ones and zeros, and had to carry them to the top of the hill in a bit bucket. When we got to the top our dad would beat us for not bring up the stop bits.

    And we liked it!
  • Re:Phew! (Score:5, Funny)

    by anticypher (48312) <anticypherNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday January 08, 2007 @11:39AM (#17508688) Homepage
    I rememember trolling by morse code back when slashdot was a ham radio channel.

    Youngsters these days. Back then it was called dashdot, it predated even radio, the oldest of us trolled with semaphores. With the introduction of electrickity, the whole telegraph scene took off. Then some guy named Morse forked the project and publicised the code as his own. It's been downhill ever since.

    Hitches up his braces, fires some chaw in the spittoon, waits for someone older to out-troll

    the AC
  • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Monday January 08, 2007 @11:54AM (#17508894) Journal
    I use it when watching my Simpsons DVDs. I like to see what the other camera angles caught during filming.

    The extras where Homer works up the live studio audience before filming a show are great too.
  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Monday January 08, 2007 @12:18PM (#17509262) Journal
    Chef: You see, chidren, sometimes a man needs to be with a woman.
    But sometimes, when the lovin' is over, the woman just wants to talk and talk
    and talk and talk.

    [song]
    But a prostitute is someone who would love you
    No matter who you are, or what you look like.
    Yes, it's true, children.
    That's not why you pay a prostitute,
    No, you don't pay her to stay, you pay her to leave afterwards.
    That's why I pays a lot for prostitutes! Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. James Taylor.

    James Taylor: A prostitute is like any other woman
    They all trade somethin' for sex and they do it well.
    Chef: And that's why I say-
    Chef and James Taylor: Prostitutes! Prostitutes! They-
    Chef: Oohhhh [sees principal]
    James Taylor, what the hell are you doin' in here?!
    Singing' about prostitutes to the children! Get out of here!
  • by d3ac0n (715594) on Monday January 08, 2007 @12:18PM (#17509264)
    Umm.. ok.. *BANG*
  • Re:Phew! (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 08, 2007 @03:52PM (#17512660)
    "Real men type in raw binary without the keyboard."

    Real men don't type, period.

    They manipulate gallium through the CPUs interconnects by controlling the electron microcurrents with small AFM tips with magnetic points. This after reaching the CPUs various levels with careful wet etching and backwards engineering by mapping what areas of the CPU are critical and what can be properly bypassed.

    The AFM tips, of course, are controlled by a stacked set of low voltage piezos, from their own custom formulation, stacked by hand. The amp controlling them is custom too, as an DIY audiophile can readily tell you. Position control is established using a multitude of homemade micro stages with feedback done using inteferometers made from Ultra Low Expansion glass or Zerodur, fed by a Zeeman split heterodyne laser (or cooler, an AOM controlled laser), hooked up to a photoelectric cell, fed to an amp then lock-in amplifiers. Output is read manually and deciphered simply by reading phase change readouts from the lock-in.

    Oh, yes, that is my own hydrogen maser being used for the reference signal of the lock-in. No, I didn't build it myself. I got it off of ebay. Better things to do with my time. But I did build the hydrogen source using electrolysis. Runs off of solar cells. I'm particularly proud of that.

    Amateurs. I don't even consider myself 31337. I could whistle 9600 baud when I was 3 years old too. And I was the slow one in the family.

Nothing is rich but the inexhaustible wealth of nature. She shows us only surfaces, but she is a million fathoms deep. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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