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Security exploit bricks HP and Compaq laptops

A Polish security researcher calling himself porkythepig is apparently gunning hard for HP this month, first exposing a slew of vulnerabilities that affected 83 different HP and Compaq models ten days ago, and today releasing an exploit that allows an attacker to brick any HP or Compaq laptop. The 'sploit takes advantage of a vulnerable ActiveX control in HP's Software Update, allowing a hacker to easily corrupt Windows kernel files, or even take control of the machine with a little more effort. Porkythepig says the bug affects HP and Compaq laptops running Windows 2000, XP, Server 2003 and Vista, and that simply disabling the Software Update mechanism may not prevent attackers from taking advantage of the vulnerability. Even still, those of you out there running HP / Compaq machines may want take a second to shut down Software Update until HP issues a patch.

Update: Wow, we didn't realize how seriously everyone took their slang. For what it's worth, the definition of "bricked" has caused some amusingly serious discussion amongst Engadget editors today, and most agree that it should mean "dead beyond all repair" -- except for Nilay, who keeps stubbornly saying that people "un-brick" devices all the time. We'll stick to the most common definition for now, so no, this exploit didn't "brick" anything.

[Via Slashdot]