If you own a Dell computer, do this now to protect yourself

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Dell computer security risk
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If you have a Dell computer, your system’s security may be at risk due to a program likely preinstalled on your machine.

The issue is with Dell’s SupportAssist program, which the company touts as “the first automated proactive and predictive support solution for PCs and tablets.”

Vulnerability found in Dell’s SupportAssist: How to fix it

This “remote code execution vulnerability,” made headlines recently after being written about 17-year-old cybersecurity researcher and blogger Bill Demirkapi, who says the Dell issue has been a risk since October of 2018.

The security risk can be particularly costly for users: SupportAssist is powerful software on nearly all Dells. The program automatically downloads updates on your computer.

Demirkapi found that the way SupportAssist communicates with your computer can be hijacked by bad actors.

“Dell recommends that all users determine the applicability of this information to their individual situations and take appropriate action,” the company says in a late April disclosure of the issue.

Labeling the severity as “High,” Dell released an update to fix it.

But you may want to not only update Dell’s SupportAssist, but remove it from your computer entirely.

How to turn off Dell SupportAssist

If you want to keep Dell SupportAssist, but disable it, here’s how to do that in three easy steps:

  1. Go to the Start menu and click the “Startup” tab
  2. Uncheck all programs associated with Dell support
  3. Click OK and if prompted to restart the computer, do so.

How to uninstall Dell Support Center

If you want to remove Dell SupportAssist entirely, you need to get rid of the Dell Support Center, which is a utility for computer diagnostics and other tools (you can download a newer version later on).

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Here’s how to remove the Dell Support Center in two easy steps:

  1. In the Start menu, go to Control Panel and click on “add or remove programs”
  2. Right-click on Dell Support Center. Click uninstall.
After that you will be taken through a series of prompts that will uninstall the Dell Support Center. You may have to confirm uninstalling the program by clicking “Yes.” If prompted to restart the computer, do so.

Don’t worry about not having Dell’s SupportAssist on your computer. Often, a new update can create problems and cause issues with your computer. In cases like these, it’s best to uninstall troublesome programs and wait for them to be updated with the needed fixes.

If you ever want to access SupportAssist — or any other preloaded program — you can always reinstall it from Dell’s official website.

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