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Dell Laptops Vulnerable to Critical Attack: What to Do Now

Your Dell laptop could be exposed to a devastating remote attack that would give hackers the ability to implant malicious code onto your machine. But don't worry, there is an easy way to protect your PC, and keep your data safe. 

A fault in Dell's SupportAssist app reportedly opens the door to a remote cyber attack, according to a report from ZDNet. When exploited, a bad actor could infect a laptop by gaining admin access, effectively giving them full control of the machine. Fortunately, Dell pushed out a SupportAssist patch on April 23 after being notified of the issue by 17-year-old researcher Bill Demirkapi.  

MORE: 9 Tips to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi

Dell published a notice on its website describing "multiple vulnerabilities" that leave their laptops open to crippling attacks. The flaw, identified as CVE-2019-3719, is considered of high severity and was given a rating of 8 by the National Vulnerability Database

"An unauthenticated attacker, sharing the network access layer with the vulnerable system, can compromise the vulnerable system by tricking a victim user into downloading and executing arbitrary executables via SupportAssist client from attacker hosted sites," the report reads. 

Update Your Dell Laptop Right Now

It's now crucial that Dell laptop and desktop owners install the latest version of SupportAssist. To do so, visit this Dell support page and press on the link under "Link to remedies." Once the download completes, open the app and make sure it's on version 3.2.0.90 or later. 

As noted in the ZDNet report, an attacker could gain access to a Dell system by using this vulnerability while connected to public Wi-Fi or a compromised local Wi-Fi router. A Dell laptop owner would only need to stumble over the wrong website or click on an infected ad for a hacker to gain access to their device. Demirkapi posted a brief video on YouTube showing how easy the attack would be. 

If you own a Dell laptop with SupportAssist installed, then we strongly recommend you download the latest version as soon as possible.  

Phillip Tracy is a senior writer at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he reviews laptops and covers the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News and NewBay Media. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, listening to indie music or watching soccer.