Hardware giant Dell has admitted that a major security bug exists in all Dell laptops and desktops shipped since August 2026. The company has already issued a fix and Dell users are encouraged to install a patch that automatically fixes the vulnerability.
The vulnerability came to light when a Reddit user revealed that a purchased Dell machine came with a pre-installed self-signed certificate called ‘eDellRoot’. The certificate also came with a private key associated with the certificate authority.
The certificate is a small file and is used to encrypt connections, especially the ones established during browsing and accessing websites. This makes your browsing experience secure. HTTPS encryption ensures that your browser has established an encrypted handshake between the web server of the website and the service is indeed legitimate without any malicious activity behind it.
The Bad Certificate
Despite its good intentions, the vulnerability arises because of the encrypted key. This key, used by the certificate to encrypt all information in the communication stream is stored locally on the computer. A malicious hacker who can obtain local access to the computer can potentially reverse engineer the locally stored key to study its encryption mechanisms.
This in turn grants the malicious attacker the means to interrupt or spy over the connection between the browser and the web server. A malware author could also pose as a legitimate website, gaining crucial information such as passwords and credit card details.
It has since been revealed that the eDellRoot certificate is present on all new Dell computers – laptops and desktops – since August 2014. The reason for eDellRoot to exist in the first place was to assist Dell customer support in troubleshooting with technical issues on customers’ computers.
In a statement, Dell addressed customers’ concerns and has also revealed instructions on how to remove the certificate. The official blog stated:
Today we became aware that a certificate (eDellRoot), installed by our Dell Foundation Services application on our PCs, unintentionally introduced a security vulnerability. The certificate was implemented as part of a support tool and intended to make it faster and easier for our customers to service their system.
Dell further stated that eDellRoot was neither “malware nor adware.”
If you have a newly purchased Dell computer, here are the instructions to remove eDellRoot.
Dell has also released a simple application that will automatically uninstall the certificate for you. The app can be downloaded here.