Thousand of Asus computers have been reportedly compromised by hackers through the company’s own software update tool. The hackers leveraged the tools to push malware to the machines, according to security researchers. The attack took place in 2018 between June and November.
“We are not able to calculate the total count of affected users based only on our data; however, we estimate that the real scale of the problem is much bigger and is possibly affecting over a million users worldwide,” Kaspersky said in a blog post.
The security researchers are calling the attack ShadowHammer. Moreover, hackers digitally signed the live update tool of the company with its code signing certificate before pushing the malware to the company’s servers.
“The malicious updates were pushed to Asus computers, which has the software installed by default,” TechCrunch reports. Asus, which is one of the biggest computer manufacturers, is yet to comment on this issue.
“The selected vendors are extremely attractive targets for APT [advanced persistent threat] groups that might want to take advantage of their vast customer base,” Vitaly Kamluk, director of Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team said.
The cybersecurity firm also added that more than 57,000 Asus users downloaded and installed the infected software update. Moreover, Kaspersky asserted that it had already informed Asus about the issue in January. The cited source stated that “the goal of the attack was to surgically target an unknown pool of users, which were identified by their network adapters’ MAC addresses.”
Besides, Asus is expected to release its flagship smartphone in the month of May. Called Asus Zenfone 6, the smartphone will be a successor to the Zenfone 5Z, which was launched back in 2018. The company teased the launch of the Zenfone 6 through an ad on a magazine in MWC 2019. The device is expected to debut in Spain on May 16. It is expected to be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC as the current flagship from Asus packs Snapdragon 845 SoC.