Asus Reacts to Live Update Utility Hack (A Little Too Late)

Hackers took over Asus updates to send malware, researchers found

Depending on the results of further investigations, "it's very possible that Asus could end up having to recognize their internal security isn't as strong as it needs to be, and has allowed this to happen", Oh said.

"Legitimate ASUS software updates still got pushed to customers during the period the malware was being pushed out, but these legitimate updates were signed with a different certificate".

Kaspersky Lab researchers said they identified more than 600 MAC addresses, and released a tool for people to check whether they were targeted by the attack.

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Taiwanese laptop maker Asus unknowingly pushed malware to thousands of computers after one of its servers was hacked previous year, potentially affecting more than one million people, Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab said.

The Taiwanese PC giant on Tuesday published a fresh clean version of Live Update, which is a tool that keeps firmware driver and BIOS software up to date, and is bundled with Asus computers. Nor did it acknowledge that Kaspersky notified it of the so-called supply-chain attack, which was first reported by the online news site Motherboard. If the desired address is detected, the malicious update backdoors the PC to download additional malware. The company estimates that around a million users may have been affected by what it describes as "one of the biggest supply-chain incidents ever". Kaspersky said that Asus was "largely unresponsive".

Motherboard subsequently contacted a secondary security company, Symantec, to confirm if its customers received the malicious code. Once enabled, it polls ASUS servers periodically for updates.

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The fact that network adapter MAC addresses were baked into the backdoored Live Update build suggests the snoops behind ShadowHammer were well aware of the internal operations of their target.

In this case, not only did Asus ignore this issue for the past three years despite being warned about it by security researchers, but the company seemingly ignored it once again when existing attacks and not just theoretical ones, were showed to it by Kaspersky.

While the attack may have infected up to a million computers, the ac dual target was much smaller.

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The company simultaneously reiterated the narrow scope of ShadowHammer, noting that the malware targeted a "very small and specific user group". "To achieve this, the attackers had hardcoded a list of MAC addresses in the trojanized samples and this list was used to identify the actual intended targets of this massive operation".

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