It is a big deal, and by no means I would defend them; I don't think anyone can. They did a cheap and horrible thing by installing a piece of adware junk, that not only was used to monetize on the buyers, it is also a major security breach. Many people are still upset at lenovo and blaming everything on the "chinese government" and talking about all sorts of conspiracies.
But I don't want to talk about who did it or why, as I was reading about all this, I just could not stop wondering: are they the only ones? Of course not.
The Gemalto hack
But did you know about the Gemalto SIM card hack? A massive sim card hack that allegedly allows US and UK spies access to billions of phones. The Gemalto hack quoted here from PC World:
"Gemalto, based in the Netherlands, produces about 2 billion SIM cards a year. About 450 mobile carriers, including AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and Sprint, use the company’s SIM cards.
Also Verizon and AT&T got involved into some pretty high level user tracking, using something called "supercookies". Basically they would be able to track all internet usage by users, no matter if they were using private navigation or incognito modes.
So this is not a new thing, big companies and governments placing adware and/or tracking us while compromising our security? It is not new.
What can you do?
You can use a Tor browser for better privacy online, VPNs are also a good option. And the next the time you buy a new PC at the Home Depot, do a clean install and put everything yourself.