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Operation ShadowHammer: ASUS Live Update Utility compromised

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umarmung

Senior Member
"Kaspersky Lab has uncovered a new advanced persistent threat (APT) campaign that has affected a large number of users through what is known as a supply chain attack. Our research found that threat actors behind Operation ShadowHammer have targeted users of the ASUS Live Update Utility, by injecting a backdoor into it at least between June and November 2018. Kaspersky Lab experts estimate that the attack may have affected more than a million users worldwide."

Source: Kaspersky Labs


Salient details:

"In January 2019, we discovered a sophisticated supply chain attack involving the ASUS Live Update Utility. The attack took place between June and November 2018 and according to our telemetry, it affected a large number of users.

ASUS Live Update is an utility that is pre-installed on most ASUS computers and is used to automatically update certain components such as BIOS, UEFI, drivers and applications. According to Gartner, ASUS is the world’s 5th-largest PC vendor by 2017 unit sales. This makes it an extremely attractive target for APT groups that might want to take advantage of their userbase.

Based on our statistics, over 57,000 Kaspersky users have downloaded and installed the backdoored version of ASUS Live Update at some point in time. 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.

The goal of the attack was to surgically target an unknown pool of users, which were identified by their network adapters’ MAC addresses. 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. We were able to extract more than 600 unique MAC addresses from over 200 samples used in this attack. Of course, there might be other samples out there with different MAC addresses in their list.

We believe this to be a very sophisticated supply chain attack, which matches or even surpasses the Shadowpad and theCCleaner incidents in complexity and techniques. 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."

Source: SecureList
 
That does not affect routers in any way, only computers.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 
Also from the stated source page:
We’ve also created a tool which can be run to determine if your computer has been one of the surgically selected targets of this attack. To check this, it compares MAC addresses of all adapters to a list of predefined values hardcoded in the malware and alerts if a match was found.

Download an archive with the tool (.exe)

Also, you may check MAC addresses online. If you discover that you have been targeted by this operation, please e-mail us at: shadowhammer@kaspersky.com
 
That does not affect routers in any way, only computers.

Yes, perhaps it would have been better under General Network Security.

The compromise of both security certificates and Asus own update infrastructure is highly disturbing, regardless of products however.
 
Already reported and discussed in other threads. :)

RMerlin confirmed that Asus routers are not affected.

Btw, not just laptops, but desktops too are possibly infected. ;)
 
Moved and merged threads in a more appropriate location.
 
It’s ironic for a malign state actor like Kaspersky to throw shade on anyone.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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