Cyber Criminals abused the worlds largest computer maker ASUS computers software update tool by hijacking the company server and install the malware.

ASUS live update tool contacts the ASUS update server periodically to see if any firmware or other software updates are available and the tool installed on laptops and other devices.

Attackers performed a sophisticated supply chain attack to compromise the company’s server and infect the user’s computer directly with the malware through automatic software update utility.

ASUS software update utility is a pre-installed in every ASUS computers that helps to automatically update certain components such as BIOS, UEFI, drivers, and applications.


ASUS is the fifth largest PC maker in the world with 6% of the market capitalization that offers personal computer includes desktop computers, laptop computers, and netbooks etc.

The targetted supply chain attack on ASUS software update utility was initially discovered In January 2019, and the attack appears to be active since June to November 2018.

Infected Over Millions of ASUS users

Based on the Kaspersky lab analysis, since this supply chain attack took place nearly 6 months, the Malware infection via legitimate software updates infect nearly 1 million users and more around the world.

The malware targeting an unknown pool of users systems by searching their MAC address using the trojanized samples that contain a hardcoded MAC address to identify the specific targets.

Kaspersky researchers pulled out more than 600 unique MAC addresses from over 200 samples and they believe that the attack is even more sophisticated than the CCleaner supply chain attack and also this attack matches the dubbed Shadowpad Attack.

According to Kaspersky research, “The reason that it stayed undetected for so long is partly due to the fact that the trojanized updaters were signed with legitimate certificates (eg: “ASUSTeK Computer Inc.”). The malicious updaters were hosted on the official liveupdate01s.asus[.]com and liveupdate01.asus[.]com ASUS update servers.”

In this case, Motherboard reported that the updates come down from the Live Update ASUS server. They were trojanized, or malicious updates and they were signed by ASUS.

Most of the infected customers are belongs to Russia and also France, Germany, Italy, the U.S, Spain, Poland, U.K, Canada, Japan, etc.

In order to alert the ASUS users, Kaspersky created a site for users to check:  that helps to determine if your device has been targeted by the ShadowHammer cyberattack by comparing the MAC addresses of all adapters hardcoded value in the malware.

Kaspersky yet to disclose the complete details of this sophisticated supply chain attack on ASUS computers and the full results and technical paper will be published during SAS 2019 conference in Singapore.

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BALAJI is a Former Security Researcher (Threat Research Labs) at Comodo Cybersecurity. Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder - Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.


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