Dell laptops are coming preloaded with a self-signed root digital certificate that lets attackers spy on traffic to any secure website.
The reports first surfaced on Reddit and were soon confirmed by other users and security experts on Twitter and blogs. The root certificate, which has the power of a certificate authority on the laptops it’s installed on, comes bundled with its corresponding private key, making the situation worse.
With the private key, which is now available online, anyone can generate a certificate for any website that will be trusted by browsers such as Internet Explorer and Google Chrome that use the Windows certificate store on affected laptops. Security experts have already generated proof-of-concept certificates for *.google.com and bankofamerica.com.